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Bush Believes 2nd UN Iraq Resolution Still Possible, says White House - 2003-02-11

The White House said President Bush still believes he will win support from NATO allies and U.N. members for a second Security Council resolution on Iraq. Permanent Security Council members Russia, China and France want to give more time to U.N. inspectors in Iraq.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said President Bush believes the Security Council must reinforce its demands that Iraq disarm, to show that its resolutions have relevance.

"He thinks that there is much riding on the actions of the United Nations, because not only will the actions of the United Nations help to disarm Saddam Hussein but they will send, hopefully, a powerful signal to the next would-be proliferator that the international regime set up to stop proliferation actually works. If it doesn't, imagine the consequences," Mr. Fleischer said.

Mr. Fleischer questions what leverage or authority the United Nations will have to stop weapons in the future, if it can't disarm Iraq after 12 years of resolutions.

Mr. Bush said he would welcome a second U.N. resolution on Iraq but has repeatedly made clear that he is ready to act militarily without one, if Iraq does not disarm.

The president Tuesday continued his diplomatic push to win broader support for possible military action in telephone calls with Philippine leader Gloria Arroyo, Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Britain supports a second resolution and says it will join in a fight against Iraq. The Security Council's other permanent members, Russia, China, and France, say U.N. inspectors should have more time and a stronger mandate to search for suspected weapons of mass destruction.

France, along with Germany and Belgium, is also blocking a U.S. request to start NATO planning to defend Turkey in the event of war in neighboring Iraq. The three countries say sending alliance military equipment to Turkey is premature while diplomatic efforts continue to try to avert war.

President Bush said the move is "shortsighted" and will affect NATO in a "negative way." Mr. Fleischer said the president believes the action by France, Germany, and Belgium is a setback for both the alliance and the people of Turkey.

"What message are these three countries in Europe sending to the people of Turkey? Turkey is a part of the alliance. They have invoked, under NATO's rules, their Article four rights to ask for assistance," Mr. Fleischer said.

Mr. Fleischer said President Bush believes it is a setback that will be overcome when France, Germany, and Belgium see the merits of Turkey's request through what Mr. Fleischer called "logic and good diplomacy."