Despite the vow of France, Germany, and Russia to block passage of a United Nations resolution setting the stage for war against Iraq, President Bush believes such a measure will still pass the Security Council.
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer Wednesday dismissed the threat from the foreign ministers, saying it does not necessarily reflect how France, Russia, and Germany will vote on a new U.S. draft resolution on Iraq.
"We have seen similar statements made in the past by various officials, and I think the one day we will know for certain where nations stand is when it comes time to raise hands and vote at the United Nations," he said.
Mr. Fleischer urged reporters "not to leap to any conclusions" about how countries will vote on the U.S. resolution, saying Wednesday's statements from the meeting of foreign ministers in Paris is part of what he called the "fluid situation" of "ongoing diplomacy."
Mr. Fleischer says French President Jacques Chirac made similar statements before a vote on the current U.N. resolution against Iraq which ultimately passed unanimously.
France or Russia could veto the new U.S. draft resolution which does not specifically authorize military action, but does vow to enforce earlier warnings of "serious consequences" if Iraq fails to disarm.
Mr. Fleischer says President Bush remains confident that the U.S., British, and Spanish resolution will pass. "The president continues to be confident in the ultimate outcome," said Ari Fleischer. "He certainly hopes that no nation will use its veto."
France, Germany, and Russia are offering a counter-proposal to extend weapons inspections. Washington says that would give Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein more time to hide illegal weapons and further divide the international community.
With more than 200,000 troops in the region and more on their way, President Bush says he is ready to use force against Iraq if the U.N. Security Council does not act.
French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin Wednesday said attacking Iraq would "boost the risk of terrorism." President Bush says disarming Iraq is part of the fight against terrorism because he says the country could help terrorists use weapons of mass destruction against the United States.