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Bush Confers With Annan on Plans for New Iraq Resolution - 2003-02-21

President Bush Friday telephoned U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan ahead of Washington's plans to introduce a new resolution next week accusing Iraq of violating a U.N. resolution demanding that it disarm. The president is expected to discuss the language of that resolution Saturday in a meeting with Spanish leader Jose Maria Aznar.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer says President Bush called the U.N. secretary-general to stress the importance of working with the Security Council to force Iraq to give up suspected stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons.

"The president has said that what is important is that the word of the United Nations be honored. And the word of the United Nations is that Saddam Hussein be disarmed. One way or another, hopefully with the United Nations Security Council, Saddam Hussein will be disarmed," he said.

President Bush says he is ready to lead his own coalition against Iraq if the United Nations does not act. Mr. Fleischer says next week's resolution restating U.N. demands will be an "important test" for the Security Council to show that its demands can not be ignored without consequences.

"Imagine a world in which the United Nations Security Council says our mission is to simply buy more time and take no action. That's a world that will lead to increased proliferation because proliferators will see the United Nations Security Council as an organization that passes resolutions without the intent of enforcing them," he said.

Mr. Fleischer would not say whether next week's resolution will set a timetable for Iraq to comply with U.N. demands.

The joint U.S.-British resolution is expected to face stiff opposition from other permanent members of the Security Council. France, Russia, and China all currently oppose military action because they say U.N. weapons inspectors should have more time.

President Bush will discuss the language of that resolution with Spanish Prime Minister Aznar, who will be a guest at the president's Texas ranch Friday evening.

Along with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Mr. Aznar is the president's biggest European ally in a possible war against Iraq despite opposition from most Spanish citizens.

Mr. Fleischer says the Spanish leader has "personally demonstrated great courage and leadership" within Europe and the Security Council in pressing Iraq to disarm.