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US Officials Renew Call for Action Against Iraq

The Bush Administration is continuing to call for action against Iraq. The president is seeking international support to remove Saddam Hussein because he says the Iraqi leader is developing weapons of mass destruction.

The president's foreign policy team previewed his speech at the United Nations, where George W. Bush is expected Thursday to urge members states to demand that the Iraqi leader comply with U.N. weapons inspectors.

On the television program Fox News Sunday, Secretary of State Colin Powell said the international community must respond to Iraqi threats.

"Saddam Hussein is not just offending the United States," said Mr. Powell. "Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi regime, by their inaction, by their violation of these resolutions over these many years, is affronting the international community, is violating the will of the international community, violating the will of the multi-lateral United Nations."

Secretary Powell said the best way to disarm Iraq is to get rid of Saddam Hussein. He says Washington will continue to consult with world leaders as the president has not made up his mind about using U.S. troops.

Mr. Bush met Saturday with British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Mr. Blair said the Iraqi leader must understand that the world will enforce U.N. resolutions on Iraq.

Secretary Powell said the Bush Administration supports the return of U.N. weapons inspectors but says they may not meet the goal of disarming Saddam Hussein. "You should have a skeptical attitude as to how much inspections can do, particularly in the presence of a regime that is going to do everything it can to hide things from inspectors,' said Mr. Powell.

Speaking on the NBC program Meet the Press, Vice President Dick Cheney said the Iraqi leader has been developing chemical and biological weapons since the end of the Persian Gulf War.

"For some 10 or 11 years now, the international community has attempted to deal with this, but it has been generally ineffective," Mr. Cheyney said. "The sanctions are breaking down. The willingness of nations to trade with Saddam Hussein has increased. He is also sitting on top of about 10-percent of the world's oil reserves and generating enough illicit oil revenue now on the side so that he has a lot of money to invest in developing these kinds of programs."

The vice president confirmed a report in The New York Times that Iraq has tried to buy special aluminum tubes used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons. He said the United States blocked those shipments, but he did not say where they were intercepted or who was sending them to Iraq.

On the CBS television program Face the Nation, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says the international community will back U-S calls for action against the Iraqi leader, once it understands the seriousness of his threat.

"The coalition we have today on the global war on terrorism involves more than half the nations of the globe, 90 plus nations. Imagine. It is the biggest coalition that I can have ever imagined in my lifetime," said Mr. Rumsfeld. "That coalition was not there on September 11th of last year. That had to be built. It was built one country at a time over a long period of time."

The president will continue to make his case against the Iraqi leader in meetings with the Canadian prime minister Monday, and the Portuguese leader Tuesday. Following his U.N. speech Thursday, Mr. Bush meets with the leaders of India, Pakistan and Japan.