BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Spanish Portuguese Caribbean

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Americas  
News Front Page
Middle East
South Asia
Talking Point
Country Profiles
In Depth
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
Wednesday, 2 October, 2002, 21:09 GMT 22:09 UK
Congress boost for Bush on Iraq
Iraqi guard stops van outside the UN headquarters in Baghdad
Iraq agrees to inspections under existing UN resolutions
President George W Bush has reached a deal with leaders of the House of Representatives which could pave the way for the use of force against Iraq.

Mr Bush said unity between the White House and Congress meant that Baghdad "will know that full compliance with UN resolutions is the only choice" and the time for that choice is "limited".

Saddam must disarm, period. If however he chooses to do otherwise, if he persists in his defiance, the use of force may become unavoidable

President Bush

The announcement of a draft congressional resolution on Iraq came after a meeting between President Bush and senior Democrat and Republican members of the House.

The Senate - some of whose members are sceptical about the Bush administration's policy on Iraq - has not yet approved the resolution, and may opt for an alternative text.

The Bush administration has said it will block a deal struck on Tuesday by UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix and Iraqi officials which would enable a resumption of weapons inspections.

The US and Britain want the UN Security Council first to set tough new rules compelling Baghdad to allow unfettered access to all suspect sites.

'Appropriate' force

The congressional resolution would authorise Mr Bush to use force against Iraq in a manner "necessary and appropriate" to protect US national security and enforce UN resolutions.

Iraqi woman by poster of Saddam in Baghdad
US draft resolution for UN
  • A UN member state can use "all necessary means" should Baghdad not co-operate with inspectors
  • Any permanent member of the Security Council can join an inspection mission and recommend sites to be inspected
  • Inspectors can declare no-fly and no-drive exclusion zones anywhere in Iraq
  • Access to all sites including presidential palaces

  • The House International Relations Committee is due to discuss the text later on Wednesday, ahead of a full House vote expected next week.

    The resolution calls on Mr Bush to certify to Congress - either before a military strike or very shortly afterwards - that diplomatic and other peaceful means have failed.

    But House Speaker Dennis Hastert said the resolution "does not require him to get UN approval before action".

    "If the president determines he has to act unilaterally to protect the American people he can."

    Russian flexibility

    The US and Britain have failed to convince the other permanent members of the Security Council - Russia, France and China - that a tough new UN resolution on Iraq is required before weapons inspections can resume.

    The UN should stick by the existing mandates

    Darrin, UK

    But the Russian Foreign Minister, Igor Ivanov, indicated on Wednesday that Moscow might be willing to compromise on a resolution.

    "First we have to hold a session of the UN Security Council, hear Blix's report and determine if there indeed is a need for such a resolution," he said.

    "If additional decisions are necessary for the efficient work of the inspectors, we, of course, are ready to consider them."

    The French President, Jacques Chirac, said both his country and Germany were opposed to any automatic recourse to force against Iraq. He was speaking after talks with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

    Military option

    Washington - which wants to see Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein toppled - is pushing for a UN resolution that would specifically mention the threat of military intervention should the inspectors be unable to complete their work.

    It does not want inspectors to return until this is passed.

    Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz said the US was afraid of letting inspectors into Iraq because it knew they would find no illegal weapons there.

    He said the US was claiming Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction in order to pursue an "aggressive agenda" against it.

    Legal nuances

    Legally the US and Britain cannot prevent the return of UN weapons inspectors to Iraq.

    But BBC correspondents say it would make little sense for the inspectors to carry out the existing mandate without the council's approval.

    During the talks with Mr Blix in Vienna, Iraq accepted all inspection rights under existing UN resolutions, which stipulate unconditional access - but crucially not to eight presidential palaces.

    Those sites are covered under a 1998 memorandum of understanding agreed by Iraq and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, which includes giving the Iraqis prior notification of planned visits by inspectors.

    The BBC's Matt Frei reports
    "Allowing him to use force against Iraq even if the UN doesn't"
    BBC Diplomatic Editor Brian Hanrahan
    "The tone is undoubtedly that he does intend to move against Iraq"
    Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz
    Listen to the full speech here

    Key stories





    Should the weapons inspectors go into Iraq now?



    61425 Votes Cast

    Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

    See also:

    02 Oct 02 | Europe
    02 Oct 02 | Forum
    02 Oct 02 | Politics
    02 Oct 02 | Americas
    02 Oct 02 | Middle East
    30 Sep 02 | Middle East
    02 Oct 02 | Middle East
    Internet links:

    The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

    Links to more Americas stories are at the foot of the page.

    E-mail this story to a friend

    Links to more Americas stories

    © BBC ^^ Back to top

    News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
    South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
    Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |