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U.S.: Bush Says Iraq Linked To Al-Qaeda

Washington, 29 January 2003 (RFE/RL) -- U.S. President George W. Bush has accused Iraq of having links to terrorists and says he is prepared to use the "full force" of the United States military against the regime of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, if necessary. Bush, in the annual State of the Union address to the U.S. Congress last night, said evidence from intelligence and other sources shows that the Iraqi regime supports terrorists, including members of the Al-Qaeda network.

"Evidence from intelligence sources, secret communications, and statements by people now in custody reveal that Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including members of Al-Qaeda," he said.

Bush gave no further details, but raised the possibility of Iraq arming terrorists with chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons.

Bush also accused Saddam Hussein of having "utter contempt" for the United Nations and said the Iraqi leader has been "deceiving," not disarming as demanded by the U.N. Security Council.

Bush said Secretary of State Colin Powell will go to the Security Council next week, on 5 February, to present new evidence against Iraq to the international community.

Turning to Iran, Bush said the Iranian government continues to repress its people, pursue weapons of mass destruction, and support terrorism. Bush said the United States supports the aspirations of the Iranian people to choose their own government and live in freedom.

On North Korea, Bush said the United States and the rest of the world will not be "blackmailed" by the North's suspected pursuit of nuclear weapons. Bush said making nuclear weapons would lead North Korea only to continued isolation and hardship. He called on the North to abandon its nuclear ambitions.