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Friday, 13 September, 2002, 18:23 GMT 19:23 UK
Bush 'doubts' Iraq will avert war
Colin Powell (background) and George W Bush
Powell is taking Bush's message to the other UN powers
President George W Bush has made clear he seriously doubts that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein will meet US demands and avert a military assault on his country.

"The reason I'm doubtful is he's had 11 years to meet the demands", Mr Bush said, speaking to African leaders in New York on Friday.

This resolution, or resolutions have got to be tough, they've got to be binding

US Secretary of State Colin Powell

"For 11 long years, he has basically told the United Nations and the world he doesn't care."

Mr Bush repeated his call for a UN-imposed deadline on the Baghdad government to comply with its demands within "days and weeks - not months and years".

A top Iraqi official on Friday rejected the unconditional return of UN arms inspectors as demanded by Washington.

"The return of inspectors without conditions will not solve the problem... because we have had a bad experience with them," Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz told a Gulf television station.

"Is it clever to repeat an experience that failed and did not prevent aggression?"

Enlarge image
Enlarge image

Key US regional bases

US Secretary of State Colin Powell has begun talks at the UN to try to agree a tough new resolution on Iraq that would ensure it faces consequences if it does not comply.

Mr Powell, who warned that the UN's credibility was at stake if it continued to allow its resolutions to be ignored, is having intense negotiations with foreign ministers from other permanent members of the UN Security Council , including Russia, China, and France.

"This resolution, or resolutions - depending on what the Security Council agrees upon - have got to be tough, they've got to be binding, they've got to have deadlines to them, and there has to be action required as a result of non-compliance", Mr Powell said.

His meetings come a day after President Bush warned that the US would take unilateral action against Baghdad if the UN failed to impose its will.

Mr Bush argued that Iraq was building weapons of mass destruction - the UN resolution to be drafted is expected to issue Iraq with a deadline for the return of weapons inspectors.

Course of action:

  • US consults permanent members of the Security Council
  • Resolution is drafted, and tabled, probably, by Britain
  • Security Council debates and eventually approves a resolution
  • Deadline is issued to Iraq for the return of weapons inspectors
  • If not complied with, then the US will launch final consultations on a military option
  • Military preparations gather pace
Russia - which opposes a US military intervention in Iraq - insisted on Friday that there remained many opportunities for a diplomatic solution while China said it would take an active role at the UN to try to resolve the crisis.

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein
Bush's demands of Iraq
  • Relinquish all weapons of mass destruction
  • Stop oppressing its people
  • Ensure UN funds are used for Iraqi people

  • The BBC's Justin Webb says Britain - which supports Mr Bush's Iraq policy - might be asked to draw up the resolution, probably before the end of next week.

    The document the US is seeking would demand the return of weapons inspectors to Iraq within weeks.

    It would contain an implicit threat of military action either against Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein or against targeted weapons sites.

    Mr Powell is likely to press Paris, Moscow and Beijing not to veto the resolution.

    Iraqi defiance

    The US Central Command - which oversees the war in Afghanistan - has announced plans to send 600 of its headquarters staff from Florida to Qatar, near Iraq, for a "training" exercise.

    And the British army is preparing to move large quantities of weapons, supplies and vehicles from stores around the country to a military port which defence sources described as the right place for any operation against Iraq.

    Tariq Aziz, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister
    Aziz: Bush speech is "lies and fabrication"
    In his speech before the UN General Assembly, Mr Bush said the US wanted to work through the Security Council - but warned that military action would be "unavoidable" if Iraq failed to comply with UN resolutions.

    He said that Iraq would be able to build nuclear weapons within a year if it acquired fissile material, and said members of Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network were "known to be in Iraq".

    Iraq remains defiant, with Mr Aziz dismissing the US president's speech to the UN as "lies and falsification".

    An editorial in the El Thawra newspaper - the mouthpiece of Iraq's ruling Ba'ath Party - called Mr Bush a "terrorist who is threatening the world".

    The BBC's James Robbins
    "George Bush is fired up"
    The BBC's Caroline Hawley in Baghdad
    "Tariq Aziz repeated Iraq's distrust of weapons inspectors"
    Foreign Secretary Jack Straw
    "If the weapon inspectors aren't allowed back into Iraq, the will of the UN has to be implemented by other means"

    Key stories





    George W Bush's full address to the UN
    Bush's UN speech: Has he got it right?



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    See also:

    13 Sep 02 | Middle East
    13 Sep 02 | Middle East
    13 Sep 02 | Media reports
    12 Sep 02 | Americas
    13 Sep 02 | Middle East
    11 Sep 02 | Middle East
    11 Sep 02 | Americas
    12 Sep 02 | Politics
    13 Sep 02 | Politics
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