- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 15, 2004


President Bush emphasized yesterday the need to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction, stressing the dangers of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons getting into the hands of terrorists.

“The possibility of secret and sudden attack with weapons of mass destruction is the greatest threat before humanity today,” Mr. Bush said in his weekly radio address.

The president said the United States is developing and deploying missile defenses to protect people against the possibility of attack from ballistic missiles armed with weapons of mass destruction.

Every means of diplomacy is used to deal with regimes that are thought to be developing deadly weapons, said Mr. Bush, adding that the United States is cooperating with more than a dozen nations under the Proliferation Security Initiative to interdict lethal materials transported by land, sea or air.

Still, the United States has shown its willingness to use force when necessary, he said. “No one can now doubt the determination of America to oppose and to end these threats to our security,” he noted.

Mr. Bush said the United States is also combating black-market operatives who sell equipment and expertise related to weapons of mass destruction. He cited U.S. intelligence agencies’ work in exposing the underground Pakistani network that supplied nuclear-weapons technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea. Abdul Qadeer Khan, the Pakistani nuclear scientist who was the father of the country’s nuclear-weapons program, admitted being the mastermind of the scheme.

The scientist was pardoned by Pakistan’s president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf.

Mr. Bush talked up proposed new steps to halt illicit weapons trafficking. His seven-point plan to combat the spread of such weapons — detailed earlier in the week — included expanding a U.S.-led international effort to halt commerce in weapons moving by land, sea or air, and tightening laws and international controls on weapons proliferation.

“We must expand the international cooperation of law enforcement organizations to act against proliferation networks, to shut down their labs, to seize their materials, to freeze their assets and to bring their members to justice,” he said.

Mr. Bush also urged the U.N. Security Council to pass a resolution requiring all states to criminalize proliferation, enact strict export controls and secure all sensitive materials within their borders.

“Terrorists and terrorist states are in a race for weapons of mass murder, a race they must lose,” he said. “They are resourceful; we must be more resourceful. They are determined; we must be more determined.”

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