President Bush said he will not allow Iraq to develop weapons of mass destruction that could be used against the United States or its allies.
The president's warning comes as Vice President Cheney continues his trip through the Middle East amidst concern that the United States may be planning action against Iraq as part of its second phase in the fight against terrorism.
President Bush said he has made no decision on Iraq, that he is leaving all options open as Vice President Cheney consults with allies over the danger posed by Iraq's pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. He said, "We need to work in concert to confront this danger. Again, all options are on the table, but one thing I will not allow is a nation such as Iraq to threaten our very future."
Mr. Bush said Iraq is a threat to world peace because it could help terrorists acquire chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons. The president says he is "deeply concerned" about the threats posed by Iraqi leader Sadaam Hussein, but he says he will not act against him until he is finished consulting with allies. Mr. Bush said, "He is a problem and we are going to deal with him. But the first stage is to consult with our allies and friends and that is exactly what we are doing."
U.S. allies in the Middle East have warned that any unilateral action against Iraq could weaken support for the U.S-led fight against terrorism.