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New US Resolution to Declare Iraq 'In Material Breach' - 2003-02-20


President Bush is continuing to press the international community to take a tough stand at the United Nations to disarm Saddam Hussein. During a visit to the Atlanta, Georgia, area, Mr. Bush said the world cannot trust the Iraqi leader to comply with disarmament demands.

A senior White House official says a new resolution will be put before the Security Council next week. He says it is expected to declare Iraq in "material breach" of the disarmament resolution passed last November.

The exact timing and wording of the new measure is likely to be linked to efforts to win over reluctant allies. France, which is a permanent member of the council, has already indicated it might veto a resolution that sets the stage for war. China and Russia are also calling for more time for weapons inspectors and less emphasis on the use of force.

In his speech in Georgia, the president addressed their concerns, while increasing the pressure on Saddam Hussein. Mr. Bush said once again that military action remains his last option. But he made clear that doing nothing in the face of an Iraqi threat is even worse.

"Let me tell you what is not an option. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not an option," he said.

His face was somber as he talked about his determination to protect the American people. President Bush said Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction and is not complying with demands to destroy them. He said denial and delay cannot be tolerated.

"America and our allies are called once again to defend the peace against an aggressive tyrant. And we accept this responsibility," the president said.

The president went on to say, "the day of freedom is drawing near" for the Iraqi people. He painted a positive picture of a liberated Iraq, saying it can be a source of hope for all the Middle East.

"Instead of threatening its neighbors and harboring terrorists, Iraq can be an example of progress and prosperity in a region that needs both," he said.

President Bush stopped in Georgia on his way to his Texas ranch, where he will hold weekend talks with the prime minister of Spain, one of the European countries that is backing his call for tough action to disarm Iraq.

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