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Thursday, 5 September, 2002, 02:23 GMT 03:23 UK
Bush consults world leaders on Iraq
Democratic House minority leader Dick Gephardt (L), Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives Dennis Hastert (C) and President Bush (R)
Bush promised to seek a resolution from Congress
US President George W Bush has promised to seek the approval of Congress before launching any military action against Iraq.

Mr Bush made the comments after a meeting with congressional leaders that he said marked the start of a wider process of consultation on his policy of "regime change" in Baghdad.


I'm going to call upon the world to recognise that Saddam Hussein is stiffing the world

President Bush

"Saddam Hussein is a serious threat... Doing nothing about that threat is not an option for the United States," he said.

But Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri said that Mr Bush would be able to present only "lies" to the American people and the international community to support his case for military action.

"Mr Bush cannot provide to his people one [piece of] evidence that Iraq poses a threat to US interests," he said after a meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo.

"All these are pretexts to support his evil plans which will not serve any interests of anybody in the world, not even the United States, these are whims, lies and false pretexts with no evidence at all."

Meanwhile in Baghdad, the Iraqi president told Arab parliamentarians that Iraq would resist any aggression.

"We shall fight in a way that pleases you and makes the enemy angry," Saddam Hussein said.

UN address

Mr Bush announced that he would meet UK Prime Minister Tony Blair on Saturday at Camp David to discuss Iraq, and that he would be consulting the other permanent UN Security Council members - France, China and Russia - by phone.

Naji Sabri
Sabri: Bush has "no evidence"
He told reporters that when he addresses the UN General Assembly on 12 September, he would lay out his case against the government in Baghdad - which Washington accuses of developing weapons of mass destruction.

"I will first remind the United Nations that for 11 long years Saddam Hussein has sidestepped, crawfished, wheedled out of any agreement he made not to develop weapons of mass destruction," he told reporters.

"And so I'm going to call upon the world to recognise that he is stiffing the world."

Mr Bush has faced criticism for senior US lawmakers - including some in his own Republican party - for failing to make a clear case for military action against Iraq.

Congressional vote

But the president made it clear that both the Senate and the House of Representatives would have an opportunity to vote on a resolution authorising any US military action.

Democratic Senate majority leader Tom Daschle
Daschle hopes for more information from the president

Senior US lawmakers welcomed the move.

"The president made it clear that he wants to work with the Congress on this issue," said Republican Dennis Hastert, the speaker of the House of Representatives.

The leader of the Democratic majority in the Senate, Tom Daschle, said he believed "there are ways of dealing with this sort of military power" and he hoped to see "greater clarity" from the president in the days ahead.

The meeting at the White House took place a day after Mr Blair gave a clear signal that he would support US military action if Saddam Hussein fails to give unrestricted access to UN weapons inspectors.

Mr Blair also promised to publish evidence of Iraq's alleged development of weapons of mass destruction.

The growing unease over Iraq in Congress has been fanned by political considerations ahead of November's mid-term elections, and by constitutional arguments over who should be empowered to launch such a pre-emptive war.

Mr Bush declined to say whether he was giving Congress a veto over any military action.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Matt Frei reports from Washington
"The White House seems to have decided that it can't take on Iraq alone"
The BBC's Bridget Kendall
"Some suspect Saddam may have substantial stocks of chemical and biological weapons"
President George W Bush
"I'm going to call upon the world to recognise that Saddam Hussein is stiffing the world"

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04 Sep 02 | Politics
04 Sep 02 | Politics
04 Sep 02 | Middle East
04 Sep 02 | Europe
03 Sep 02 | Middle East
03 Sep 02 | Politics
03 Sep 02 | Politics
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