President Bush says he is certain that U.S. forces will find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The president made the remarks after meeting at his Texas ranch with Australian Prime Minister John Howard to thank him for Australia's help in the war in Iraq.
President Bush says U.S. forces are still searching for chemical and biological weapons in Iraq. The threat that Saddam Hussein could help terrorists use those weapons was one of the biggest reasons Mr. Bush gave for invading the country.
While such weapons have not yet been found, Mr. Bush says he is certain they will be, as Iraqi civilians come forward and help U.S. forces find where Saddam Hussein hid them. "He spent an entire decade making sure that inspectors would never find them," he said. "Iraq is the size of the state of California. It has got tunnels, caves, all kinds of complexes. We will find them. It's a matter of time to do so."
The president spoke at his Texas ranch, where he and the Australian Prime Minister discussed the North Korean nuclear threat and efforts to bring peace to the Middle East. They also spoke about curbing terrorist threats in Indonesia.
Mr. Bush thanked Australians for their contribution to the war in Iraq, where 2,000 special forces secured Iraqi missile sites and disrupted Iraqi troop movements, allowing coalition forces to move on Baghdad.
Prime Minister Howard thanked Mr. Bush for what he called his "resolute" leadership during the conflict, and said Australia will continue to contribute to Iraq's reconstruction. "We think the world is a safer, more optimistic place as a result of our joint efforts in Iraq, and we think that is a message, which is resonating around the world," prime minister Howard said. "We, too, have one aspiration for the Iraqi people that they can live in freedom and they can run their own affairs and they can benefit from the great civilization and the great resources which, unhindered, are at their disposal."
Prime Minister Howard and President Bush also discussed progress toward a free trade agreement between Australia and the United States. Mr. Bush said he hopes there will be a plan to send to Congress by the end of the year.