Accessibility links

Bush, Blair Deeply Concerned about Iraq's Alleged Weapon Program

President Bush says satellite photographs show that Iraq is building weapons of mass destruction. The president met Saturday with British Prime Minister Tony Blair to discuss action against Iraq.

President Bush is trying to build international support against Saddam Hussein because he says the Iraqi leader could help terrorists acquire chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons. "When a tyrant like Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction," said Mr. Bush, "it not only threatens the neighborhood in which he lives, it not only threatens the region, it can threaten the United States of America or Great Britain for that matter."

The president met with Prime Minister Blair Saturday to discuss Iraqi threats ahead of a speech at the United Nations Thursday where Mr. Bush is expected to urge members to force the Iraqi leader to comply with weapons inspections.

Mr. Bush says photos released by the International Atomic Energy Agency show unexplained construction at Iraqi weapons sites. The president says he does not know what more evidence is needed to convince the international community to take action against Iraq.

Prime Minister Blair is one of the few U.S. allies backing the president's call for tougher action against the Iraqi leader. He says it is a threat that can not be ignored.

"The policy of inaction is not a policy we can responsibly subscribe to," he added. "So the purpose of our discussion today is to work out the right strategy for dealing with this because deal with it we must."

President Bush Friday telephoned the leaders of Russia, China, and France to discuss ways to respond to Iraqi threats. He told them he has not yet decided whether to use U.S. force.

French President Jacques Chirac says Mr. Bush should not attack Iraq without approval from the U.N. Security Council. Russian President Vladimir Putin said there should be a more diplomatic approach to resolving concerns over Iraqi weapons production.

Prime Minister Blair Saturday said the United States and Britain want the broadest possible support for dealing with Iraq.

"This is an issue for the whole of the international community, but the U.N. has got to be the way of dealing with the issue not the way of avoiding dealing with it," said Mr. Blair.

President Bush continues his campaign to rally international support for action against Iraq at a meeting Monday with Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien.