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Thursday, 29 November, 2001, 17:13 GMT
Tory leader meets US vice-president
The remains of the World Trade Center
Mr Duncan Smith will visit Ground Zero
Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith has been holding talks in Washington with members of President George Bush's administration.

On his first visit abroad since becoming Tory leader, Mr Duncan Smith was due to meet vice president Dick Cheney before travelling to New York to see the devastation at Ground Zero.


Politically we must maintain our resolve that this didn't begin and end with Afghanistan

Iain Duncan Smith
Ahead of the talks he called on the US-led coalition against terror not to let countries like Iraq "off the hook" over weapons of mass destruction.

And he played down fears of a split in the coalition if it widens its campaign beyond Afghanistan.

He backed the increased pressure being put on Iraq by US President George Bush to again allow weapons inspections or face the consequences.

Mr Duncan Smith's comments come after British Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon confirmed military action in the campaign against terror could be taken beyond Afghanistan.

States too weak to launch action against terrorists on their own territory could be targeted, he said, amid reports America is preparing for military operations in Somalia, Yemen and Sudan.

But the Iraqi government's representative in London attacked those calling for action against his country, and said Mr Duncan Smith spoke out only to seek publicity for his party.

High level meetings

Mr Duncan Smith is attending a conference in Washington on the next steps in the battle against terrorism.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme on his arrival in America, Mr Duncan Smith said he hoped to find out about the planned next steps in Afghanistan and the administration's attitude towards widening the war.

Ground Zero

Even before 11 September there had been concern about countries "beyond the civilised code", harbouring terrorist groups including al-Queda, the opposition leader said.

Following those attacks the message was that "it's time they re-joined the rest of the civilised world and that really terrorism and the harbouring of terrorist groups is no longer acceptable".

"Now is the time for us all to stay together and resolve that we won't let countries like Iraq off the hook and actually ensure that we can inspect and get rid of their weapons of mass destruction."

Coalition 'will hold'

As long as action against Iraq unfolded in "logical steps" with "just and reasonable demands" the coalition would hold together, he predicted.


It is obvious it's party politics and the subject of Iraq is bringing more attention to his party

Dr Mudhafar Amin
Iraqi representative in UK
Beginning and ending the campaign in Afghanistan would be to "walk away having cured only one part of the illness".

But Dr Mudhafar Amin of the Iraqi interests section at the Jordanian embassy in London told the same programme Mr Duncan Smith's comments were "obvious party politics" to attract more attention to the Conservatives.

He protested at seven years of sanctions that had left "thousands" dead and the lack of attention paid to Israel's nuclear capability.

"If anybody is sincere in solving the problem this is not the approach: putting Iraq in a corner, demonising it and hitting it - and you expect us to co-operate in a very nice and gentle way?

"If they are really sincere they should use a diplomatic approach, they should use dialogue, they should use the United Nations."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Laura Trevelyan
"Iain Duncan Smith is building on links he has with Republicans"

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See also:

28 Nov 01 | UK Politics
UK may look to new battle fronts
28 Nov 01 | UK Politics
Duncan Smith to visit US
28 Nov 01 | UK Politics
'No blank cheque' for terror bill
27 Nov 01 | Middle East
Iraq defies US over arms inspections
26 Nov 01 | Americas
Bush warns Iraq over UN inspectors
08 Oct 01 | UK Politics
We will prevail, vows Duncan Smith
27 Sep 01 | UK Politics
Duncan Smith defends terror policy
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