Bush: Saddam is threat to security of Americans; Blix invited to hold talks in Baghdad
Us President Goerge W. Bush said Tuesday he had hoped the Iraqi weapons stand-off could still be settled without bloodshed.
"All options, of course, are always on the table for any president, but by working with (U.S. allies) we can resolve this," he said. "I hope this Iraq situation will be resolved peacefully," Bush told reporters.
"One of my New Year's resolutions is to work to deal with these situations in a way so that they're resolved peacefully. But thus far it appears on first look that (Iraqi President) Saddam Hussein hasn't heard the message," he said.
"We don't know whether or not he has a nuclear weapon," Bush said, noting, however that Saddam had been "close" to obtaining one in the past.
"Now we've brought the world together to send a clear signal we expect him to disarm, to get rid of his weapons of mass destruction," the U.S. leader stated. "And I mean it," Bush emphasized. "I had made the case, and will continue to make the case, that Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is a threat to the security of the American people," Bush said.
Bush conveyed that an attack by Saddam Hussein or a terrorist ally "would cripple our economy."
Meanwhile, Iraq invited chief UN arms inspector Hans Blix to talks in Baghdad ahead of a report he is due to present to the UN Security Council on January 27.
General Amer al-Saadi, a top advisor to President Saddam Hussein, sent Blix a letter proposing he come to Iraq "between the second and third week of January" to discuss cooperation between the two sides, the official INA news agency said.
A UN spokesman said discussions were underway with the Iraqis on setting a date for Blix and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Mohammed ElBaradei to visit.
The proposed talks would aim at "reviewing cooperation between us during the past period and looking at ways of boosting that cooperation in the coming months to realize our common objective of a speedy implementation of UNMOVIC's mandate," Saadi wrote, according to INA. (Albawaba.com)
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