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Bush Administration Keeps Pressure On UN to Pass Iraq Resolution - 2002-10-22

The Bush administration is keeping up the pressure on the United Nations Security Council to quickly pass a new resolution on Iraq. President Bush says the Council must deal with the threat posed by Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction.

With a new U.S.-proposed draft resolution on Iraq now under review in the Security Council, the Bush administration is putting pressure on the U.N. to act.

White House Spokesman Ari Fleischer says work on the measure is continuing and the process is entering its final stages. He says the United Nations does not have forever, and Washington would like to see an agreement.

Mr. Fleischer spoke to reporters traveling with the president to a political rally in the eastern state of Pennsylvania. At the event, designed to win support for Republican Party candidates in upcoming elections, the president talked about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein and the need for a strong U.N. response.

"For the sake of world peace, Saddam Hussein must do what he promised. For the sake of having an international body that is effective the United Nations must be resolved to deal with this person," he said.

But as he spoke, Russia was signaling its displeasure with the new U.S.-backed draft resolution on Iraq. Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov is quoted as saying the draft does not meet Russia's minimum requirements for handling the issue.

The resolution, which has the support of Britain, calls for unrestricted access for U.N. weapons inspectors but reportedly contains language that could be interpreted as allowing military action if Iraq fails to comply. It is that element of the draft that has reportedly triggered objections from France and Russia.

Meanwhile, chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix, who is in Moscow for talks with officials there, says it will probably take days to reach an agreement on the wording of a resolution. Mr. Blix says he would like to see weapons inspectors in Iraq as soon as possible, stressing Baghdad can avoid war if it proves to the world it has no weapons of mass destruction.