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SHOWDOWN WITH IRAQ

'Saddam Hussein is ... trying to fool the world'

February 01, 2003|From Associated Press

Excerpts from remarks Friday by President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair:

Bush: It's my honor to welcome Tony Blair back to the White House.... I appreciate his understanding that after Sept. 11, 2001, the world changed, that we face a common enemy, terrorists willing to kill innocent lives, that we now recognize that threats which gather in remote regions of the world must be dealt with before others lose their lives.

Tony Blair is a friend. He's a friend of the American people.

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Blair: Well, first of all, can I say how delighted I am to be back in the White House and to see President Bush? ... And I would like to praise his leadership in the world, since Sept. 11, particularly, on what I think are the two key issues that face our world today, which are issues of international terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. And I think both of those issues come together because they threaten the peace and the order and the stability of the world.

And what is essential is that in every respect, in every way that we can, we mobilize international support in the international community in order to make sure that these twin threats that the world faces are dealt with.

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Bush: Saddam Hussein is not disarming. He is a danger to the world. He must disarm. And that's why I have constantly said, and the prime minister has constantly said, this issue will come to a head in a matter of weeks, not months....

Secretary Powell ... will make it clear that Saddam Hussein is fooling the world -- or trying to fool the world. He will make it clear that Saddam is a menace to peace in his own neighborhood. And he will also talk about Al Qaeda links....

See, the strategic view of America changed after Sept. 11. We must deal with threats before they hurt the American people again. And as I've said repeatedly, Saddam Hussein would like nothing more than to use a terrorist network to attack and to kill and leave no fingerprints behind.

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Blair: We know that these terrorist networks would use any means they can to cause maximum death and destruction. And we know also that they will do whatever they can to acquire the most deadly weaponry they can. And that's why it's important to deal with these issues together.

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Bush: Saddam Hussein ... expects to be able to convince 108 inspectors that he's open-minded. The only way that he can show that he's truly a peaceful man is to not negotiate with inspectors. It's not to string the inspectors along....

We know what a disarmed regime looks like. We know what it means to disarm. There's no negotiations. The idea of calling inspectors in to negotiate is a charade.

If he is going to disarm, he must start disarming. That's the only thing he needs to talk to the inspectors about, is, "Here, I'm disarming."

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Blair: The U.N. inspectors -- and this is the crucial point because on this basis that the whole issue of the U.N. authority rests -- the U.N. inspectors did not go back into Iraq to play a game of hide-and-seek with Saddam. They didn't go back in as a detective agency.

They went back in under an authority that said that they had to cooperate fully in every respect. The interview of witnesses, not just access to sites. Honest, transparent declarations of the material they had.

They're not doing that.... If they don't do it through the U.N. route, then they will have to be disarmed by force.

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Bush: And the worst form of attack could come through somebody acquiring weapons of mass destruction and using them on the American people. Or the worst kind of attack could come when somebody uses weapons of mass destruction on our friends in Great Britain.

Recently Tony Blair's government rooted out a poison plot. It should say to the people of Great Britain: There is a present danger, that weapons of mass destruction are a danger to people who love freedom ....

Today, Italy rounded up yet another cell of people who are willing to use weapons of mass destruction on those of us who love freedom.

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