Accessibility links

Breaking News

Bush: 'Time is Running Out' for Iraq to Disarm

President Bush says "time is running out" for Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein to give up suspected weapons of mass destruction.

President Bush says the question is not how long the inspections will continue but whether Saddam Hussein will finally disarm after 11 years of U.N. resolutions.

"The world came together and we have given him one last chance to disarm. So far, I haven't seen any evidence that he is disarming," he said. "Time is running out on Saddam Hussein. He must disarm. I am sick and tired of games and deceptions. And that is my view of timetables."

President Bush says a January 27 report by U.N. inspectors will be the start of what he calls "the final phase" leading to a U.S. decision on military force in Iraq.

U.N. inspectors want more time. Chief inspector Hans Blix told The Washington Post newspaper Tuesday that the January 27 report will mark 'the beginning of the inspection and monitoring process, not the end of it.'

Secretary General Kofi Annan says inspectors are just getting up to what he called "full speed". He says peace is still possible in Iraq, but the government there must fill in what he said are 'major gaps' in its weapons report and give inspectors more active cooperation in their search for alleged weapons of mass destruction.

If those inspectors conclude that Iraq has violated U.N. resolutions, the Security Council will meet to discuss the consequences. If President Bush is not satisfied with those consequences, he says he will lead his own coalition to disarm Iraq by force.

Mr. Bush says Iraq is a threat because it could help terrorists use weapons of mass destruction to attack the United States or its allies. Iraq says the United States wants to invade the country to capture its oil supplies.

Britain and the United States are both sending more troops to the region.

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said Tuesday he favors a second U.N. Security Council resolution before any military action against Iraq.

U.N. inspectors visited several locations Tuesday including an Iraqi missile engine testing plant and a military depot in Baghdad.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer says the inspectors' work is complicated by an Iraqi regime that he says is hiding banned chemical and biological weapons

"If Iraq fails to cooperate, it makes their mission very, very difficult to prove whether Saddam Hussein does or does not have this so-called 'smoking gun' because 'smoking guns', as we know, can be hidden," he said.

The chief U.N. weapons inspector visits Baghdad this weekend. Mr. Blix is expected to tell Iraqi officials to provide new evidence about its weapons programs or face possible military action.