| President George W. Bush in the White House on Wednesday. (Reuters)
Washington, Sept. 18 (Reuters): US President George W. Bush said today he would soon propose a congressional resolution authorising action against Iraq and said he believed the United Nations would support the effort despite Iraq’s offer to readmit UN arms inspectors.
Bush told reporters after meeting congressional leaders at the White House he had received a commitment to pass an Iraq resolution before the US Congress’ pre-election break in October.
“It’s important for us to work with Congress to pass a strong resolution. I told the members that within the next couple of days this administration will develop language that we think is necessary, and we look forward to working with both Republicans and Democrats to get a resolution passed,” he said.
A resolution would send an important signal of US determination to the world, Bush said. Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s offer on Monday to allow a return of UN weapons inspectors has weakened the US drive for a new UN resolution demanding Iraqi compliance with previous commitments to disarm.
“It’s an important signal for the world to see that this country is united in our resolve to deal with threats that we face,” Bush said. Saddam’s offer was a ruse to avoid international pressure, the President added.
“He deceives, he delays, he denies. And the United States and, I’m convinced the world community, aren’t going to fall for that kind of rhetoric by him again.”
Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle, a key player in debate over a congressional resolution, also said he was confident the United Nations would eventually close ranks.
“I think the United Nations was thrown off to a certain extent by his (Saddam's) actions over the course of the last 24 to 48 hours, but I believe by the end of the day the United Nations is going to be where it needs to be, standing strong in opposition to his ploy and recognising that it’s just that,” Daschle said.
“We need to insist on open inspections. We need to insist on the destruction of weapons of mass destruction,” he added.
The US Senate leader declined to discuss specifics of any congressional resolution, stating only that Democrats would “work in concert with the administration — Republicans and Democrats — hopefully with the recognition that this ought to be done in the international arena.”
Russia yesterday said it saw no need for a new UN Security Council resolution, clashing with the United States on the issue and raising the possibility Moscow could exercise its veto power. Bush last week called on the United Nations to disarm Iraq and implied the United States would take military action against Baghdad if it failed to do so.