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Monday, 23 September, 2002, 18:25 GMT 19:25 UK
UN faces double pressure over Iraq
UN headquarters in Baghdad
Iraq says only its agreement with Kofi Annan is valid
The United States and Britain are stepping up the pressure to try to ensure the United Nations adopts a tough new resolution to force Iraq to abandon any weapons of mass destruction it may have.


Do we sit back knowing that Saddam has these weapons of mass destruction and cross our fingers or do we deal with it

Spokesman for UK Prime Minister
The UK Government - which is preparing to publish a dossier outlining President Saddam Hussein's weapons programme - said a draft resolution would be put before the UN "within days".

Shortly afterwards, President Bush said the resolution would have to be a strong one that would hold the Iraqi leader to account.

Iraq has said it will ignore any new resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council.

'Threatening civilisation'

It would have to be a resolution "to disarm Saddam Hussein... before he threatens civilisation", Mr Bush said.

"I want to see a strong resolution coming out the UN, a resolution which says the old ways of deceit are gone, a resolution which will hold this man to account," he said in a speech in New Jersey on Monday.

Iraqi woman
Iraq wants to see an end to sanctions

And Britain - America's closest ally - made it clear that the UN would be presented with the resolution sooner, rather than later.

A spokesman for UK Prime Minister Tony Blair would not say whether Britain itself would present the draft.

But he made clear Britain's support for America's position.

"As the prime minister has made clear, the issue is do we sit back knowing that Saddam has these weapons of mass destruction and cross our fingers or do we deal with it?" the spokesman said.

Voices of dissent

On Tuesday, the UK Government will publish a 55-page dossier outlining the threat allegedly posed by Iraq's weapons programme.

Mr Blair has been meeting members of his cabinet on Monday to try to quell voices of dissent.

"There is no doubt whatever... that Saddam is continuing with his [weapons of mass destruction] programme," he told the cabinet, his spokesman said, Reuters news agency reports.

"We are not talking about historic leftovers but an ongoing, continuing programme," Mr Blair said.

Two members of Mr Blair's cabinet have publicly voiced their doubts for his backing of America.

US President George W Bush
Bush has already been given a detailed military plan
Mr Blair is also due to visit Moscow in October to try to persuade President Vladimir Putin to support the American and British position.

Russia, together with the other permanent members of the Security Council - France and China - have resisted the calls for a new resolution.

They want to wait to see whether Iraq is prepared to co-operate with weapons inspectors.

Offer dismissed

Last week, Iraq agreed to allow the unconditional return of international weapons inspectors who left the country four years ago.

Open in new window : Who backs war?
Where key nations stand on Iraq

But it made it clear it expected the UN in return to guarantee it would not face attack if they did come back, and that it also wanted some sign that the sanctions it is living under would be lifted.

The US has dismissed the Iraqi offer to resume inspections as a ploy and Mr Bush has asked Congress to authorise measures against Iraq even if the UN refuses to do so.

US military plans for action against Iraq have already been worked out in some detail, US officials have said.


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23 Sep 02 | Politics
23 Sep 02 | Americas
23 Sep 02 | Middle East
23 Sep 02 | Middle East
23 Sep 02 | In Depth
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