and Bush Align to Tackle Terror
By Linda D.
WASHINGTON, Jan. 31, 2003 – A poison plot
uncovered in Great Britain. Another terrorist cell revealed today
in Italy. This is the latest evidence that international terrorism
and weapons of mass destruction endanger the world.
U.S. President George Bush and British Prime
Minister Tony Blair today said these two key threats must not
be allowed to come together. Yet, the potential for that to happen
lies with Saddam Hussein.
Saddam’s links with al Qaeda and other terrorist
networks "portend a danger for America, for Great Britain
and anybody else who loves freedom," Bush said following
a meeting with Blair at the White House.
"We must deal with threats before they hurt
the American people again," he said. "… Saddam
Hussein would like nothing more than to use a terrorist network
to attack and to kill and leave no fingerprints behind."
Blair echoed the alarm.
"I have no doubt at all that unless we deal
with both of these threats, they will come together in a deadly
form," he said. "We know these terrorist networks will
use any means they can to cause maximum death and destruction.
We know also that they will do whatever they can to acquire the
most deadly weaponry they can."
The British leader said it’s essential for the
international community to deal with these twin threats and recapped
the United Nations’ efforts to do so. He said U.N. Security Council
Resolution 1441 gave Saddam Hussein a final opportunity to disarm
and to cooperate fully in every respect with U.N. weapons inspectors.
Earlier this week, the inspectors reported that Iraq is not cooperating.
"The judgment has to be at the present time
that Saddam Hussein is not cooperating with the inspectors and
therefore is in breach of the U.N. resolution," Blair said,
"and that’s why time is running out."
Bush said U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell
will go before the U.N. Security Council next week to continue
making the case against the "strong danger of an armed Saddam
Hussein" and Iraq’s links to terrorism.
"The war on terror is not confined to just
a shadowy terrorist network," Bush said. "The war on
terror includes people who are willing to train and equip organizations
such as al Qaeda."
If the United Nations decides to pass a second
resolution, Bush said it would be welcomed "if it is yet
another signal that we’re intent upon disarming Saddam Hussein."
But, he added, another resolution is not needed.
"(Security Council Resolution) 1441 gives
us the authority to move without any second resolution,"
he said. "Saddam Hussein must understand that if he does
not disarm for the sake of peace, we, along with others, will
go disarm Saddam Hussein."
This is a matter of weeks, not months, Bush noted.
"Any attempt to drag the process on for months will be resisted
by the United States," he said.
The responsibility for dealing with Iraq lies
with the international community, not just the United States or
Great Britain, Blair stressed.
"What is important is that the international
community comes together again and makes it absolutely clear that
this is unacceptable," he said. "And the reason why
I believe it will do that is precisely because in the original
Resolution 1441 we made it clear that failure to disarm would
lead to serious consequences."
Bush called Iraq’s invitation for the U.N. inspectors
to return to Baghdad a "charade." He said the only way
that Hussein can show that he is truly a peaceful man is to "disarm
in front of the inspectors."
Blair said it’s obvious that, as the pressure
grows, the Iraqi regime wants to play the same games they’ve been
playing all along.
"That’s why it’s important we hold to the
path that we’ve set out," he stressed. "They have to
disarm. They have to cooperate with the inspectors. They’re not
doing it. If they don’t do it through the U.N. route, then they
will have to be disarmed by force. "