Washington, 4 September 2002 (RFE/RL) -- U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld (pictured) has denied that there is a rift in the administration of President George W. Bush on how to deal with Iraq.
Rumsfeld said yesterday he knows of no significant differences among Bush's senior advisers on U.S. policy toward Baghdad.
Rumsfeld made the comment following press reports of disagreements within the administration. He said it is up to Bush to make the decision on whether to move militarily against Iraq.
The question of reported disagreements on the Iraqi policy came following recent remarks made by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell who said that UN arms inspectors ought to be allowed to return to Iraq to probe for alleged weapons of mass destruction programs there.
Powell's comments seemed to have contradicted remarks made by Vice President Dick Cheney, who said last week there was little point for the inspectors' return because Baghdad has been trying to hide the country's arms-research activities.
Rumsfeld said it has always been the administration's policy to push for the return of the inspectors. But he expressed doubt that the inspectors could guarantee an Iraq free of weapons of mass destruction.