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Bush Asks UN to 'Make Up Its Mind Soon' on Iraq - 2003-02-07

President Bush says the U.N. Security Council needs to "make up its mind soon" about confronting Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, if Iraq does not cooperate with inspectors searching for weapons of mass destruction. President Bush says this is a defining moment for the Security Council to decide whether its resolutions on Iraq have any force.

"If the Security Council were to allow a dictator to lie and deceive, the Security Council will be weakened," he said.

The president says he is confident that when U.N. members assess their responsibilities, they will decide to enforce resolutions demanding that Iraq disarm.

Mr. Bush says it would be helpful to have a second resolution demanding that Iraq comply with the existing U.N. resolution 1441. But he made it clear that he is prepared to act militarily, regardless of what the United Nations decides.

"The U.N. Security Council has got to make up its mind soon, as to whether or not its words mean anything. I've never felt we needed a resolution," Mr. Bush said. "1441 speaks very clearly. It talks about serious consequences, if he does not disarm,"

The president says a second U.N. resolution would mean little, without the resolve to enforce it. With more than 100,000 troops in the region and more on the way, Mr. Bush says, the United States is resolved to take "whatever action is necessary" to defend the country and disarm Iraq.

The president Thursday sought to rally broader support against Saddam Hussein by saying that the danger he poses reaches around the world. He said Iraq is helping terrorists who have planned attacks in France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Russia, and the Republic of Georgia.

France and Russia say it is not the right time for a second resolution authorizing force against Iraq. Mr. Bush telephoned Chinese leader Jiang Zemin Friday to discuss North Korea's nuclear weapons program. China's official news agency says Mr. Jiang told the president that China wants U.N. inspectors to continue their work in Iraq.

Mr. Bush says Saddam Hussein is a "master of deception," who is treating the demands of the world as a joke and is playing games with U.N. inspectors.

He says there is no doubt that the Iraqi leader will now engage in what he calls "another round of empty concessions and transparently false denials" in a "last-minute game of deception."

Iraq says it does not have weapons of mass destruction and is cooperating with U.N. inspectors.