Deadline sought for Iraq
U.S. would give Saddam seven days to open for inspection
By Barry Schweid and Dafna Linzer
The United States and Britain are proposing that the United Nations set a seven-day deadline for Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to agree to disarm, and open his palaces for searches of hidden weapons, a Bush administration official and U.N. diplomats said Friday. President Bush backed the U.N. effort, saying, "I'm willing to give peace a chance."
The tough demands are coupled with a warning that "all necessary means" would be used against Iraq in the event of defiance, the officials said.
Describing the proposed U.N. resolution as tough and detailed, the U.S. official said Iraq would be accused of being in "material breach" of U.N. Security Council resolutions, and told it must agree to "full, final and complete destruction" of its weapons of mass destruction. The resolution was being circulated to attract the support of France, Russia and China.
Approval of the resolution is problematic. France, Russia and China each has the power to kill it with a veto, because they are permanent members of the council. All three prefer giving Iraq another chance to have suspect sites inspected before threats of force are leveled.
"I'm willing to give peace a chance to work. I want the United Nations to work," Bush said at a Republican fund-raising event in Denver.
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, meanwhile, joined other senior Democrats in voicing reservations about putting the nation on a path toward war before a new, tougher round of U.N. inspections is launched.
"War should be a last resort, not a first response," he said in a speech to the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.