- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 16, 2003

The United States Sunday it was working on a new resolution to disarm Iraq, urged immediate action against the Arab nation's leader, and warned that if the U.N. Security Council does not act against Saddam Hussein, "the United States will have to act with a coalition of the willing."

National security adviser Condoleezza Rice's comments on the Sunday talk shows came a day after massive worldwide protests against a possible U.S.-led war against Iraq to disarm it of its suspected weapons of mass destruction.

Media reports said Sunday the United States and its allies were working on a second U.N. resolution on the Iraq issue a day after U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said a new resolution might be needed before force is used against Iraq.

"We have not yet drafted the resolution," Rice told Fox news Sunday. "We're working it with different parties, with our friends. We will see. As the president said, we would welcome a second resolution if it in fact affirms the obligations that the Security Council undertook in 1441.

She said Washington did not want a resolution that "is a delaying tactic."

"This should really reaffirm 1441 because we believe that we have all of the authority necessary under 1441 and several other U.N. Security Council resolutions, to impose serious consequences on Iraq if necessary."

She said Saddam had "weeks, not month" to comply.

Resolution 1441 calls for Iraq's disarmament beginning with the return of the inspectors for the first time in four years and threatening "serious consequences" if Baghdad fails to cooperate with them.

The United States says Iraq has a record of lying to the international community and is hiding proscribed weapons of mass destruction. It says Baghdad has already been given enough time and has not complied with U.N. resolutions. Baghdad, it contends, poses an immediate threat to global security and must be disarmed by force if necessary.

Washington has urged the United Nations to disarm Iraq or says it will do so alone.

"Sooner or later, we believe sooner, the Security Council is going to have to say that he (Saddam) has not taken that final opportunity to comply, and the Security Council is going to have to act, or the United States will have to act with a coalition of the willing," Rice said. The coalition of the willing is preparing. We have been preparing for some time."

Rice also addressed the worldwide anti-war protests Saturday, saying though the demonstrators had a right to express their opinions, they should examine Saddam's record.

"People have the right to protest," she said. " People can say what they think … I just think that it would be worthwhile to step back … and to remember the true nature of the Iraqi regime, to remember how they rape and torture, to remember how they kill women in front of their families to make a point, to remember that he's acquiring and has acquired weapons of mass destruction, that he's used chemical weapons on his own population and on his neighbors, and to ask yourself, 'Do you really want this regime to go unchallenged for the next 12 years, as we've done for the last 12 years?'"

On Saturday, millions of antiwar protesters surged through the streets of the world's major cities for a weekend of demonstrations against the prospect of war in Iraq.

More than a million marchers converged on Rome, twice as many as police had expected. Hundreds of thousands also gathered in London's Hyde Park and in Damascus, Syria, with other demonstrations taking place elsewhere. Paris, Berlin, Beirut, Baghdad, Seoul and several cities in Australia and New Zealand as well as the United States were among them.

In Lebanon, The head of the militant Hezbollah hailed the protests Sunday.

"Those millions in Europe and the United States is an element of strength to prevent the war (on Iraq)," Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah said during a rally in the village of Jibsheet in south Lebanon.

He criticized Arab government for not allowing similar protests.

Referring to Saudi Arabia, he said some 2 million Muslims from all over the world were performing Hajj in the Holy city of Mecca earlier this week and could have protested, but "they had no permission."

"We don't ask the Arab countries to declare war (against U.S. to defend Iraq) but at least to say they are against war," he said.

Also Sunday, NATO ambassadors were meeting in Brussels, optimistic that a monthlong deadlock over how to protect Turkey in the event of a war with Iraq could be broken. A compromise proposal tabled by Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt late Saturday, with the apparent backing of Germany, appeared to support the deployment of surveillance planes and surface-to-air missiles to Turkey on condition they are used for purely defensive purposes.

The two countries, along with France, had previously blocked U.S. plans to protect the alliance's only predominantly Muslim state, fearing the move would sanction the use of force against Baghdad and undermine the work of U.N. weapons inspectors in Iraq.

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