- The Washington Times - Monday, February 17, 2003

The United States' urgency to disarm Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein has not diminished despite mounting opposition in the U.N. Security Council to a military strike, White House National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said yesterday.
Miss Rice said the United States has not set deadlines in its aim to disarm Iraq of banned weapons but will soon abandon any diplomatic solution to deal with Saddam and urged the Security Council to do the same.
"Continuing to talk about more time and more time and more time is simply going to relieve pressures on the Iraqis to do what they must do," Miss Rice said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "It is time for this to end. Enough is enough. Putting this off is not an option. … The U.N. Security Council is unfortunately getting a history of being unable to react. The Security Council needs to show resolve."
Miss Rice said on "Fox News Sunday" that the administration is weighing another U.N. resolution to ensure Saddam eliminates weapons of mass destruction programs. That resolution has not yet been drafted.
"We're working it with different parties, with our friends," Miss Rice said.
The Bush administration has said it would support a second resolution if the resolution did not block the quick use of military action to enforce Resolution 1441, which was passed by the council unanimously in November and demanded that Iraq disarm or face "serious consequences."
"We don't want a Security Council resolution that somehow is a delaying tactic," Miss Rice said.
The United States, supported by Britain and other council members, insists Iraq has violated the U.N. resolution.
But some council members, led by France and Germany, insist inspectors must be given more time to complete their work. The two countries have also blocked U.S.-led efforts to enlist NATO military aid for Turkey in case of war against Iraq.
Last week, the United States and Britain hoped to push through a resolution quickly. However, it appeared highly unlikely the administration could count on the nine of 15 Security Council votes needed to authorize war after last Friday's Security Council meeting.
At the meeting, chief U.N. arms inspector Hans Blix gave the Security Council a mixed report on Iraqi compliance. Also, France proposed a ministerial meeting of the council March 14, which is after the best time for an invasion from the military point of view.
"It is clear that the Security Council would like to give the inspections more time," said Mohamed ElBaradei, who leads the U.N. search for banned weapons, as he was flying to Vienna, Austria, from New York. "Having said that, Iraq should not get the wrong message. The Security Council is still very impatient. The Security Council believes that Iraq still is not cooperating the way it should cooperate."
Yesterday, Miss Rice said any delay, which would include giving inspectors more time, "plays into the hands of Saddam Hussein. … It was unfortunate that some [on the council] gave him the impression he can play this game," she told NBC.
Asked yesterday whether the United States could count on enough votes for a new resolution to pass the Security Council, Miss Rice said: "We are prepared to work toward that end. We will see where we come out."
Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, said the United States and Britain would propose a resolution this week that calls for "definitive progress on the … disarmament of Saddam Hussein."
"If that's rejected, then I think the United States of America is going to have to make some difficult decisions," Mr. McCain said on "Fox News Sunday."
Mr. McCain said he couldn't understand how anyone can say the inspections are working.
"There's got to come a time where we say, 'Enough is enough,' and I think the United States and Britain are at this point," he told Fox.
But former NATO commander Wesley Clark said on "Meet The Press" that the White House should consider allowing inspections to seek out weapons of mass destruction and not follow an "artificial deadline."
"It's unlikely the inspectors will ever find the so-called smoking gun on this. But if it makes our allies more able to go to their publics and justify their support of our operation, then I think that's important," Mr. Clark said.
The French ambassador to the United States, Jean-David Levitte, said the inspections are working.
"Right now 50 liters of mustard gas are being destroyed by the inspectors," Mr. Levitte said on ABC's "This Week." "And they have decided that the ranges of some missiles were beyond what was accepted. And these missiles must be destroyed. So they produce results, and they should go on as long as they produce results."
Mr. Levitte acknowledged that they would like to see more cooperation from Saddam.
"We want more. But at the same time, Saddam Hussein accepted now the surveillance plane, the U-2. We have proposed Mirage planes. The Germans have proposed drones," Mr. Levitte told ABC. "So we make progress. It's too slow. But we maintain that the inspections produce results."
Britain's ambassador to the United States, Christopher Meyer, said that although Britain agrees that Iraq is defying the United Nations, his country would not attack without Security Council approval unless it was clear that the approval would not occur.

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