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U.N. Security Council Now Faces 'Clear Choice' Over Iraq

By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 23, 2003 – The U.N. Security Council faces "a clear choice" regarding disarmament of Iraq, President Bush said Feb. 22.

"With all the world watching, the Security Council will now show whether it means what it says," Bush said from his ranch in Crawford, Texas. He was speaking in a joint press conference following talks there with Spanish President Jose Maria Aznar.

Spain, the United Kingdom and most of Eastern Europe have strongly backed the U.S. position on disarming Iraq. Other European nations, chiefly France and Germany, have been outspoken against the possibility of using force in Iraq.

"Our coalition draws its strength from the courage and moral clarity of leaders like President Aznar," Bush said. "In times of testing, we discover who is willing to stand up for the security of free peoples and the rights of mankind."

Aznar said there is "total" cooperation between Spain and the United States in the war on terrorism. His remarks came shortly after the Spanish government announced it had arrested several accused terrorists.

"We free societies are the targets of terrorists," he said, "and they must be fought unconditionally, with no reservations."

Aznar indicated that Iraq is disregarding the rule of international law. "We know that there cannot be peace without law," he said, "and that peace cannot be separate from security."

He, too, called on the Security Council to uphold Resolution 1441, which called for strong measures if Saddam Hussein failed to willingly disarm.

Spain is committed to peace, Aznar said. "But if we are unable to combat aggressive dictators (and) tyrannical regimes, this is something that endangers the very existence of international peace and harmony. And if we are incapable of guaranteeing this peace, international peace would become senseless rhetoric."

The Spanish president said leaders like Bush and him don't think of their own comfort in making decisions this important, but of their responsibility. "We want peace, freedom and prosperity for all," he said.

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