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NATO: Bush Calls On Alliance Leaders To Remain United On Iraq


Prague, 20 November 2002 (RFE/RL) -- U.S. President George W. Bush today repeated his warnings to Iraq that it must disarm or face military action, and called on NATO leaders to remain united in their stance. Speaking in Prague ahead of tomorrow's NATO summit, Bush said war is his "last choice" and can still be avoided. But he reiterated that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein will face "serious consequences" if he fails to comply with international demands.

"There is universal recognition that Saddam Hussein is a threat to world peace," Bush said. "There is clear understanding that he must disarm in the name of peace. We hope he chooses to do so. Tomorrow, we'll discuss the issue. We'll consider what happens if he chooses not to disarm, but one thing is certain: He'll be disarmed, one way or the other."

Following talks with Bush, Czech Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla offered the Czech Republic's support in the case of war. But Czech President Vaclav Havel earlier said he agreed with Bush that force is only necessary as a final resort.

The British government today said the United States has requested British assistance in a possible military campaign in Iraq, but did not announce a decision on the request.

Also today, chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix said Iraqi officials have pledged full cooperation with experts who plan to resume a search for any weapons of mass destruction next week.

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