Washington, 19 September 2000 (RFE/RL) - U.S. officials say Iraq is still a very serious threat to the security of the Persian Gulf, as well as to the vital interests of the United States and its allies. Assistant U.S. Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Edward Walker told the U.S. Senate's Armed Services Committee today that Iraq will pose a threat as long as President Saddam Hussein remains in power. "Iraq under Saddam Hussein remains dangerous, unreconstructed and defiant. Saddam's record makes clear that he will remain a threat to the regional peace and security as long as he remains in power."
Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Walter Slocombe said the threat posed by Saddam justifies the expense of maintaining a large U.S. military presence in the Gulf in order to contain Iraq.
"Compared with ignoring the problem or seeking simplistic quick fixes, it is both cheap and safe."
The officials noted that Saddam has rejected every opportunity to comply with United Nations resolutions on Iraq that would enable the international community to ease sanctions imposed on Iraq following the Persian Gulf War a decade ago.