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Democrats Urge Bush to Tone Down Iraq Talk

Politics: Lawmakers say Baghdad should be given chance to comply with U.N. demands.

September 30, 2002|From Times Wire Services

WASHINGTON — Three Democratic congressmen urged President Bush on Sunday to mute his war rhetoric, as Iraqi officials assured them that U.N. inspectors would have unfettered access to weapons sites.

Reps. Jim McDermott of Washington and David E. Bonior of Michigan, in Iraq during the weekend to assess the humanitarian situation there, said Baghdad should be allowed to comply with U.N. demands without the threat of military action.

Iraqi officials "said they would allow us to go look anywhere we wanted," McDermott said on ABC-TV's "This Week" news program. "And until they don't do that, there is no need to do this coercive stuff where you bring in helicopters and armed people and storm buildings."

The two lawmakers and Rep. Mike Thompson of St. Helena, Calif., met with Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri and Deputy Prime Minister Tarik Aziz.

Although Iraq has promised to allow monitors to return, Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan said Saturday that his nation would not submit to inspections under any new U.N. resolution that threatens military action or incorporates demands by the Bush administration to revise inspection rules.

A U.S.-drafted resolution would require Iraq to fully disclose any weapons of mass destruction within 30 days of passage or face military action.

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