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Rice Challenges U.N. to Stand Up to Saddam Hussein - 2003-02-16


U.S. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice is challenging the United Nations Security Council to stand up to Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and force his disarmament.

Ms. Rice told NBC television that the diplomatic phase of the Iraqi crisis cannot continue for very much longer. She said "it is time for this to end," and "enough is enough."

She said calls for allowing UN weapons inspectors more time to hunt for chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs in Iraq is relieving pressure on Saddam Hussein.

On another program (Fox), Ms. Rice said the Bush Administration is working with parties at the United Nations on a new Security Council resolution on Iraq, but the wording has not been finalized yet.

In an interview with "Time" magazine, French President Jacques Chirac said UN weapons inspectors should be given more time in Iraq. Mr. Chirac said a second U-N Security Council resolution on Iraq is not necessary at this time, but he indicated the use of force would be an option if the inspections failed. Mr. Chirac also admitted that if Iraq is disarmed, it would be a result of U-S pressure.

France, Russia, and China, which all have veto power in the Security Council, have expressed support for continuing inspections at this time rather than authorizing the use of force.

Meanwhile, warplanes of the U-S and British coalition that patrols the southern no-fly zone in Iraq attacked five air defense communication sites on Sunday. The U-S military says the strikes were in response to Iraqi threats to the aircraft.

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