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White House Issues Retraction of Allegations in Bush State of the Union Address - 2003-07-09

The White House has issued a rare retraction of allegations from the president's January State of the Union Address. Officials say President Bush's accusation that former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein tried to buy uranium in Africa, was based on what turned out to be a forged document.

Making his case against Saddam Hussein six months ago, President Bush said British intelligence reported that the then-Iraqi leader had tried to buy significant quantities of uranium from Niger.

The United Nations later concluded that those documents were forgeries and White House spokesman Ari Fleischer now admits that the information should not have been included in the State of the Union.

In South Africa Wednesday, President Bush side stepped the question, saying he is "absolutely confident" about his decision to invade Iraq.

"There is no doubt in my mind that Saddam Hussein was a threat to the world peace. And there is no doubt in my mind that the United States along with allies and friends did the right thing in removing him from power," Mr. Bush said. " And there is no doubt in mind that when it is all said and done that the facts will show the world the truth."

The threat from Iraqi weapons was one of the president's biggest justifications for toppling Saddam Hussein. More than two months after the fall of Baghdad, none of those weapons has yet been found.