Blair: Saddam has still time to disarm
The British prime minister, Tony Blair, said Monday that he believed "passionately" that Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein, must be stripped of his weapons of mass destruction, with or without a new UN resolution.
He said Britain must show rogue states "that when we say we intend to deal with the issue of weapons of mass destruction, we mean it". Blair conveyed there was still time for the Saddam to give up his weapons programs. But if he did not, he would have to be disarmed by force.
"I know and understand the concerns that people have," the British leader said. "The threat seems to some people to be remote but I passionately believe that we must disarm Iraq.
"I tell you honestly what my fear is: my fear is that we wake up one day and we find that either that one of these dictatorial states has used weapons of mass destruction - and Iraq has done so in the past - and we get sucked into a conflict with all the devastation that would cause.
"Or, alternatively, these weapons - which are being traded all around the world at the moment - fall into the hands of these terrorist groups, these fanatics who will stop at absolutely nothing to cause death and destruction on a mass scale. "That is what I have to worry about," he declared during his monthly press conference.
Blair said Saddam was "almost certainly" not telling the truth in his weapons report given to the UN last month.
However, he noted he wanted to walk "the UN route" in tackling Iraq and there would be further discussion there if Iraq was in breach of the UN resolution.
"But I want to make it quite clear - and I believe this to be the position of all the main security council members - if there is a breach we would expect the United Nations to honour the undertakings that were given and make sure that the will of the UN is upheld," he said. "I have no doubt at all they will do so."
The British Prime Minister added: "If there is a breach of the existing UN resolution I have no doubt at all that the right thing to do in those circumstances is disarm Saddam by force." (Albawaba.com)