President Bush says Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's failure to comply with a United Nations deadline to abandon his weapons of mass destruction could mark his "final stage" as Iraq's leader.
Speaking ahead of the NATO summit in Prague (Wednesday), Mr. Bush warned the Iraqi leader to end his campaign of deception and denial over the weapons or face the most severe consequences. He said a dictator who used weapons of mass destruction against his own people cannot be allowed to produce or possess them.
In an address to a gathering of young people from across Europe, President Bush said the Prague summit marks a decisive moment for NATO as it welcomes new members and meets new challenges.
He said the alliance, born to stop Soviet expansionism, must gather strength and find new purpose as America and Europe renew their friendship to keep peace in the world. He also welcomed the growth of democracy in Russia, saying it will help guarantee world security.
To achieve these goals, Mr. Bush said NATO forces must strengthen their ability to fight side by side. He said the alliance must develop new capabilities, including the ability to operate beyond alliance borders.
The summit is expected to offer membership to seven East European countries-- Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia.
Mr. Bush arrived in the Czech capital late Tuesday. Following the NATO summit, Mr. Bush travels to St. Petersburg, Russia for a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin Friday.
Their talks are likely to include the conflict in Russia's breakaway Chechen republic. Mr. Bush will stop in Lithuania and Romania, before returning home Saturday.