President Bush has repeated his call for Iraq to fully disarm, hours after a U-S television network quoted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein as saying he will resist a UN order to destroy part of his missile arsenal.
In a brief news conference on Tuesday, a reporter asked President Bush what it would take to avoid war. The president replied, "Full disarmament." The president also said he hopes the U-N Security Council will pass a new Iraq resolution seen as paving the way for war -- but he said the measure was not required for the United States to take military action.
Meanwhile, the American television network C-B-S says it taped an interview with President Saddam Monday, in which he strongly indicated that Baghdad would resist U-N orders to destroy its Al-Samoud-Two missiles. U-N arms experts say the rockets exceed a 150-kilometer limit that the world body set for Iraqi missiles in 1991.
However, a top adviser to the Iraqi leader, Lieutenant General Amer al-Saadi, said his government has not made a decision on the missiles. General al-Saadi said he had not seen the C-B-S interview, which was scheduled to air later on Tuesday.
In New York, chief U-N weapons inspector Hans Blix says he will not accept the interview as an official response from Baghdad. Mr. Blix issued the order for Iraq to destroy the missiles last week, setting a deadline of this Saturday for the process to begin.