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Some U.S. Staff Told To Leave Gulf Area

As President Clinton renewed his warning to Saddam Hussein, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright Friday advised the families of U.S. officials to leave Israel and Kuwait.

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The United States has not received "intelligence of an imminent threat" against Kuwait or Israel by Iraq but is advising Americans to leave to ease their "anxieties," said State Department spokesman James P. Rubin.

Keeping up the pressure on Saddam, Mr. Clinton warned Iraq Friday to give U.N. inspectors free access to suspected weapons sites or face the threat of military action. "Either Saddam acts, or we will have to," the president said.

Mr. Clinton's new warning came amid a last-ditch effort by U.N. diplomats to reach a settlement with Saddam and avert American air strikes against Iraq.

Mr. Clinton said his national security team has traveled around the world in search of a diplomatic settlement. "If there is a way to resolve this peacefully, we will pursue it to the very end," the president said.

"Nobody wants to use force. But if Saddam refuses to keep his commitments to the international community, we must be prepared to deal directly with the threat these weapons pose to the Iraqi people, to Iraq's neighbors and to the rest of the world. Either Saddam acts or we will have to."

The president made his remarks in an address taped for broadcast in the Arab world in connection with a Security Council vote to allow Iraq to more than double the amount of oil it can sell under a U.N. oil-for-food plan. "No people have suffered more at the hands of Saddam Hussein than the Iraqi people themselves," Mr. Clinton said.

The Pentagon, meanwhile, was weighing whether to speed up plans to vaccinate U.S. troops against the deadly germ warfare agent anthrax.

Anthrax vaccine was given to more than one-quarter of U.S. forces who served in the Persian Gulf War. In December, the Defense Department announced plans to start inoculating 100,000 military personnel deployed to high-threat areas. Eventually all 2.4 million U.S. military personnel are to be vaccinated.

Written by Deb Riechmann ©1998 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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