Bush warns Iraq, says ''time is running out'' for Saddam; Annan sees no reason to attack
U.S. President Bush said Tuesday he was "sick and tired" of Iraq's deception on its suspected weapons of mass destruction and said time is running out for Iraq to comply with U.N. demands to disarm.
"The United Nations spoke with one voice — we said we expect Saddam Hussein, for the sake of peace, to disarm," Bush said. "That's the question: Is Saddam Hussein disarming? ... "So far I haven't seen any evidence that he has disarmed. Time is running out on Saddam Hussein. He must disarm. I'm sick and tired of games and deception. That's my view of the timetable," Bush told reporters.
On his part, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Tuesday he sees no reason for an attack on Iraq and is optimistic that war can be avoided if the international community maintains pressure on Saddam Hussein and inspectors do their job aggressively.
Nonetheless, he said the United Nations is making plans to deal with an exodus of refugees and potential humanitarian crisis in the event of military action. U.N. experts are also doing some "preliminary thinking" about a possible post-conflict political organization and administration in Iraq, he said.
He stated U.N. weapons inspectors were "just getting up to full speed" and there were no grounds yet for any military action. He also implicitly opposed any unilateral attack by the United States and Britain without Security Council authorization.
"I do not think we are there yet," he said. "So I really do not want to talk about war. Nor is the council talking about war."
"I am both optimistic and hopeful that if we handle the situation right, and the pressure on the Iraqi leadership is maintained and the inspectors continue to work as aggressively as they are doing, we may be able to disarm Iraq peacefully, without need to resort to war," Annan said.
Annan said "there is no doubt" that President Bush's speech to the General Assembly in September and American pressure were responsible for getting inspectors back into Iraq.
But when asked whether the presence of U.S. troops was helpful in reaching a peaceful, diplomatic solution, he said: "I would want to make a distinction between pressure and the threat of use of force, and the actual use of force. When do you cross that threshold?" (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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