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Sunday, 15 September, 2002, 15:47 GMT 16:47 UK
Straw gives Saddam weapons ultimatum
An Iraqi soldier and a shoe vendor in Baghdad
Saddam must comply or be ousted, says Straw
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has given the strongest signal yet that Britain will back the United States in seeking a new government in Iraq.

He said Saddam Hussein will have to go if he does not obey UN resolutions and dismantle any weapons of mass destruction.


Either he deals with those weapons of mass destruction or his regime will have to end

Jack Straw
Foreign Secretary
But he admitted if the Iraqi leader does comply and admit inspectors then the case for military action "recedes almost to the point of invisibility".

Mr Straw also said the dossier on Iraq to be published before parliament is recalled next week would contain new information.

He told UN delegates on Saturday that Saddam must not be allowed to defy international law.

And on Sunday, the foreign secretary went further and said the UN Security Council must pose to Saddam a "very clear choice: either he deals with those weapons of mass destruction or his regime will have to end".

'No split'

The UN is currently in discussions to draw up a new resolution against Baghdad.

Mr Straw told the BBC the dossier which will be produced by the government before 24 September will contain fresh evidence against Saddam.

He said: "It will contain new facts. There is no need to look in the crystal about the record of Saddam Hussein, it is there in the book."

Jack Straw
Straw told the UN it would be weakened by inaction

But Downing Street is keen to play down suggestions that its dossier will include evidence of a link with al-Qaeda terrorists.

Mr Straw said: "They (Iraq) have been playing games with us for long enough, played games with world peace for long enough."

The shadow foreign secretary Michael Ancram told BBC Radio Five Live a "tough approach" was needed to deal with Saddam.

He said: "The very simple answer for Iraq, whether it is Tariq Aziz or Saddam Hussein, is to accept that the game's up and they have to eliminate weapons of mass destruction and allow United Nations in to see that that is done."

UN consequences

The foreign secretary played down suggestions of disunity in opinion on Iraq at home and abroad.

He said his counterparts around the world at the UN meeting had "overwhelming support" for President Bush.

And he added: "I believe that you will find that this Cabinet is as united on the need for resolute action as it has been in the past."

US President George W. Bush
Bush told the UN to "show backbone"
Former Culture Secretary Chris Smith had warned an attack on Iraq would cause the "disintegration of the international coalition against terrorism".

Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman Menzies Campbell said: "No one could quarrel with the foreign secretary when he says that the authority of the UN must be upheld.

"But the United Nations is bound by international law. Military action must be a last resort when all other diplomatic and political alternatives have failed."

In Mr Straw's speech to the UN general assembly, he warned the UN could be "seriously weakened" if it failed to deal with the threat of Iraq.

'Civil disobedience'

And US president George Bush urged the UN on Saturday to "show some backbone" and confront Saddam over Iraq.

Meanwhile, the CND peace movement is planning a campaign of civil disobedience to oppose any war on Iraq.

Delegates at CND's annual conference in London have endorsed a resolution calling for "non-violent direct action".

Their spokeswoman, Carol Naughton, said that ''could mean anything from blockades to sit-down demonstrations.''

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Carole Walker
"He's gone further than his formal address to the UN"
UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw
"The whole world community faces a very clear, if hard, choice about Iraq"

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15 Sep 02 | Middle East
15 Sep 02 | Scotland
15 Sep 02 | Middle East
15 Sep 02 | Middle East
14 Sep 02 | Politics
13 Sep 02 | UK
12 Sep 02 | Politics
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