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Bush: Clear UN Resolution On Tap

President Bush, declaring that Saddam Hussein has not disarmed and does not intend to, said Saturday the United States will submit a new resolution to the U.N. Security Council early in the week to set the stage for war against Iraq.

The resolution, to be offered jointly with Britain and possibly Spain, will make its case in "clear and simple terms," Mr. Bush said.

In another important development, Pentagon officials said Saturday the United States hopes to begin moving troops and equipment into Turkey as early as this week, preparing for an expected second front in a possible war with Iraq.

They confirmed a tentative agreement on U.S. aid to Turkey, whose parliament could vote on the deal Tuesday. A Turkish official said the deal involved $5 billion in grants and $10 billion in loan guarantees from the United States.

The new U.N. measure would endorse military action if Iraq fails to comply, possibly by a time certain. U.S. officials said they were continuing to tinker with the wording in hopes of picking up as much support as possible among wavering council members.

Mr. Bush predicted its approval, even though disagreements continued among sponsors over its wording and whether it should set a specific deadline. There has been little support thus far in the 15-member council for moving ahead with any new resolution.

"We will not allow the Iraqi dictator ... to continue to possess or to produce weapons of mass destruction," Mr. Bush said at a news conference on his ranch with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar at his side.

"He'll play like he's going to disarm," Mr. Bush said. "He has no intention of disarming."

Asked if this was the Security Council's last chance to show its relevance, Mr. Bush answered curtly, "Yes."

The president gave another one-word reply - "No" - when asked whether he again was willing to wait two months before U.N. action, the length of time it took to pass the previous Iraq resolution last fall.

"Time is short," Mr. Bush added.

Of the 15 Security council members, only three other nations have joined the United States in pressing for a new resolution: Britain, Spain and Bulgaria. To prevail, the United States needs nine votes, and weeks of intense lobbying by Washington have apparently failed to add to the tally of supporters.

The United States and Britain must also persuade the other three permanent members of the Council - France, Russia and China - to at least acquiesce by not exercising their vetoes. All three have argued for giving inspectors more time to their job, and have voiced objections - France's the loudest - to military action now.

Mr. Bush brushed aside doubts about whether the resolution could overcome those deep reservations, telling reporters Saturday, "we are just beginning" to line up allies. Mr. Bush noted that last November's resolution sending U.N. weapons inspectors back to Iraq eventually passed unanimously after similar questions about its fate.

But Russia indicated again Saturday it would oppose any new Security Council resolution that would automatically authorize the use of force against Iraq.

The accord with Turkey, a NATO ally and Iraq's northern neighbor, is pivotal for the Pentagon's plans for a two-pronged invasion of Iraq if Mr. Bush decides on war. Talks dragged on for weeks on the U.S. request to base tens of thousands of troops in Turkey, whose citizens overwhelmingly oppose military action in Iraq.

At least a half-dozen U.S. military ships are waiting off Turkey's coast, part of a flotilla of more than three dozen vessels carrying equipment and supplies for the American ground troops.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said negotiations on final details of the deal with Turkey were continuing.

"And I anticipate they will continue for a little bit longer. I think it's fair to say that nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to," Fleischer said.

Turkey's government, which just took office in November, has been balking at taking the unpopular step of letting in U.S. troops. However, Turkey cannot afford to alienate Washington because it needs U.S. political and economic support.

Meanwhile, Iraq received a March 1 deadline to begin destroying dozens of missiles that travel farther than the U.N. allows in a test that could determine whether Iraq is willing to disarm or ready for war.

In Baghdad, CBS News corresponent Mark Phillips says it seems the choice confronting Saddam now is to either give up the missile or try to keep it and provide the US with yet another reason to go to war.

Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan said he was ready to talk with Washington if the U.S. ended its threats of attacking. But Ramadan said Iraq was prepared for war.

"We are expecting the worst, and we don't trust the intentions of those evil countries," Ramadan said in an interview with Algerian television. "Our readiness is great and our morale is high."

Washington was unlikely to take Ramadan up on his offer, and his remarks were viewed as largely for domestic consumption.

Chief United Nations weapons inspector Hans Blix on Friday demanded that Iraq eliminate its Al Samoud 2 missile system in a letter to a top adviser to President Saddam Hussein. The March 1 deadline is also the date Blix's report on Iraqi compliance is due to the U.N. Security Council.

Iraq is allowed to have missiles that travel up to 93 miles, but Blix said Iraq had increased the Al-Samoud missile's diameter, meaning it can travel farther. U.N. inspectors believe Iraq has between 100 and 120 of the missiles.

The Iraqi government did not immediately comment on Blix's order. An assistant to Gen. Hossam Mohamed Amin, chief Iraqi liaison officer to the U.N. inspectors, told The Associated Press on Saturday he hadn't seen the chief inspector's letter.

Mohammed Modhaffar al-Adhami, a member of Iraq's parliament, said earlier Friday that he believed Iraq would destroy the missiles if so ordered.

Inside Iraq, weapons inspectors on Saturday searched a company involved in production of the Al Samoud.

After they left, the director of the company said obeying the order from the United Nations to destroy the weapons would deprive Iraq of an important means of defense just as it is being threatened.

Owayed Ahmed Ali said only two of the missiles had been tested above the range allowed by the United Nations.

Inspectors Saturday also went to eight other sites, including a medical college in the northern city of Mosul, a facility for heavy engineering, and a dairy factory.

In Tehran, Iran, the head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency said Saturday that Iraq was not fully cooperating with the weapons inspectors in their search for alleged weapons of mass destruction.

"We have not finished our work in Iraq. We are not getting full cooperation from Iraq but we hope to get it in coming weeks," Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said at a news conference.

"We'd also like to see active cooperation (from Iraq) in freely interviewing Iraqi scientists," ElBaradei said.

However, he said there was still a chance to avoid war.

"We still believe that war is not inevitable," he told reporters as he wrapped up a two-day visit to Iran.

In other developments:

  • Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark - a major figure of the U.S. anti-war movement - flew into Baghdad on Saturday to meet with officials and to see whether war is a foregone conclusion.

    In an interview in his hotel room, Clark told The Associated Press that there is only one way to avoid war: "George Bush and his top advisers would have to change their minds." He described that as a real possibility.

    "I think (Mr. Bush) has already been delayed weeks beyond what he wanted," he said. "They may decide they just can't risk going forward, as badly as they want to. I think they've had to take pause at the big peace demonstrations."

  • Iraqi opposition members gathering in Irbil, Iraq to discuss the country's future expressed deep reservations Saturday about reported U.S. plans for an Iraq after Saddam's potential ouster. Criticism of an American proposal to replace the Baghdad government with a U.S.-led military government ran deep and wide.

    Many of the delegates also said they felt betrayed by the Bush administration, which they perceive to be ignoring the Iraqi opposition.

    "We don't think an American occupation will work," said Mowaffak al Rubaie, a Shiite Arab delegate to the opposition meeting expected to begin next week. "The people will see Mr. George Bush as an occupier. The people of Iraq will take to the streets. There will be rebellion," he said.

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