- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 24, 2002

TRENTON, N.J. President Bush yesterday insisted that the United Nations pass a "strong" new resolution against Iraq, saying the old weapons-inspection regime established after the Persian Gulf war has been flouted for too long by Saddam Hussein.
"I want to see strong resolutions coming out of that U.N., a resolution which says the old ways of deceit are gone, a resolution which will hold this man to account," the president said to loud applause from about 2,000 supporters gathered in an Army National Guard Aviation Support facility hangar.
Mr. Bush's comments echo those of Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, who last week was the first to enunciate the administration's stance that returning U.N. weapons inspectors to Iraq under existing resolutions is "unacceptable."
"If somebody tried to move the team in now, we would find ways to thwart that," Mr. Powell said.
Some nations on the U.N. Security Council, including Russia and France, have wavered on Mr. Bush's call for a new resolution, instead supporting the return of inspectors under past resolutions.
The United Nations is mulling over how to deal with Saddam, who has ignored 16 U.N. resolutions since 1991. Iraq late last week reneged on an offer to allow inspectors unfettered access and during the weekend defiantly announced that it would not comply with any new resolution on the return of inspectors.
As a result, Mr. Bush said yesterday, the time for talk is nearing an end.
"There are no negotiations with Saddam Hussein about what he should or should not do he's already said what he would do," Mr. Bush said at an afternoon fund-raiser. "The discussion is within the United Nations Security Council, and soon they will tell the world whether or not they're going to be relevant, or whether or not they're going to be weak."
"For the sake of world peace, I hope they're relevant. However, for the sake of freedom and peace, if the United Nations will not deal with Saddam Hussein, the United States and our friends will," he said to loud cheers.
Meanwhile in London, a spokesman in Prime Minister Tony Blair's office said the draft of a new U.N. Security Council resolution on weapons inspection in Iraq will be offered within days. The resolution would set out the requirements Iraq must meet when inspections resume.
Mr. Blair yesterday briefed members of his Cabinet about the contents of a dossier on Iraq's weapons programs, set to be released today. Mr. Blair told them it was clear from intelligence reports that Saddam was continuing to build his arsenal of weapons of mass destruction.
"The truth is the policy of containment has not worked," Mr. Blair was quoted by a spokesman as saying at the special Cabinet meeting at his No. 10 Downing Street office. "He has been able to make progress [on such weapons] and has to be stopped."
The 50-page dossier will be released to lawmakers just before a special one-day session of Parliament. Mr. Blair has promised to give more details about Iraq's suspected programs of developing chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.
The prime minister has decided that lawmakers will not vote on a substantive motion on Iraq when they meet today, but House of Commons Leader Robin Cook has said it would be inconceivable that Britain could go to war without their consent.
On Friday, Jeremy Greenstock, the British ambassador to the United Nations, reassured other Security Council members that Saddam would be able to avoid military action if he complied strictly with the terms of a new resolution.
Emerging from a private session at the British mission to the United Nations, Colombian Ambassador Alfonso Valdivieso told United Press International that his understanding from the briefing was that Washington was willing to put the ouster of Saddam what the Bush administration calls "regime change" "in the refrigerator."
Mr. Valdivieso said he came away from Mr. Greenstock's briefing with the idea he got the idea that "the Americans do not have the aim to overthrow Saddam Hussein that is in a secondary station."
Two other diplomats at the meeting, both of whom did not want to be identified, confirmed that account of Mr. Greenstock's words.
Mr. Greenstock "said that regime change is in the refrigerator, according to him, unless and until the inspection process comes to a halt," one of the diplomats said.
The other diplomat said Mr. Greenstock told the group: "The U.S., rhetoric aside, is prepared to accept a situation where Iraq is disarmed and the regime does not change."
However, an official in the U.S. mission to the United Nations said the toppling of Saddam is still Washington's policy.
At the State Department, spokesman Richard Boucher said talks at the United Nations on a draft resolution were continuing apace and slammed Iraq for "backtracking" on its pledge to allow the inspectors to return.
"We think a resolution like this is necessary in order to give the inspectors unfettered access as a critical ingredient for an effective inspections regime," he said before rebuking Baghdad for its Sunday statement.
"It's not up to Iraq to decide whether the Security Council adopts a new resolution, nor is it for Iraq to decide what sort of inspection regime the Security Council should use. The recent Iraqi statements are just further proof that Iraq is already backtracking on its commitments to have inspections without conditions," he said.
National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice said that while the shape of a U.N. resolution is up in the air, the consequences for Saddam's years of flouting the international community are not.
"We're open to how the U.N. Security Council acts to finally deal with the threat of Saddam Hussein. But we have to remember that weapons inspectors are not the end in themselves," she said in an interview with the London-based Financial Times.
This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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