Friday, November 13, 1998 Published at 17:01 GMT
Iraq could rearm 'in months'
USS Enterprise: Ordered to the Gulf early
The United States has warned that Iraq will be able to rebuild its weapons programme in a matter of months unless the international community takes action over its obstruction of UN weapons inspections.
"If we fail to act he will feel emboldened to threaten the region further, armed with weapons of mass destruction," he said.
Among those present were the US Defence Secretary, William Cohen, and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, General Henry Shelton.
The White House says no decision has yet been made on the possible use of force, but President Clinton has ordered the accelerated deployment of a replacement naval force in the Gulf.
He has also approved the deployment of a second group of amphibious assault ships in the region.
Mr Cohen said he was confident there would be more international support for any necessary action than there had been in the past.
Iraq criticises neighbours
The Al-Iraq newspaper lashed out at Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman saying they should not have allowed Mr Cohen to issue threats against Baghdad.
The official Iraqi news agency, INA, also quoted Foreign Minister Mohammad Saeed al-Sahaf as saying Baghdad was not seeking an escalation in tension and was contacting France, Russia and China to help resolve the latest confrontation with UN weapons inspectors.