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'International Community Surrounds' Saddam, Wolfowitz Says

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 6, 2002 – A large and growing number of nations around the globe have coalesced to disarm Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein -- by peaceful, or other, means, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz noted Dec. 4 at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.

After consulting with senior NATO officials shortly before he returned to Washington, Wolfowitz said to reporters that Saddam Hussein "should understand that we already have a very strong coalition assembled, if we have to (go to war), and I believe that that coalition is only going to grow.

"If it does become necessary to use force, we will have the world with us," he emphasized after meetings with NATO Secretary General George Robertson and other senior alliance officials.

Wolfowitz said he'd received a hearty response from North Atlantic Council members after inquiring what NATO assets might be made available to put additional pressure to coerce the Iraqi dictator to abandon his weapons of mass destruction program peacefully or, should it be decided that war is necessary, to remove the threat of Saddam and his regime.

Such assets might include use of NATO Airborne Warning and Control System planes, missile-defense systems, and other types of assistance, the deputy said. Wolfowitz pointed out it would be up to NATO whether or not to provide such assistance.

Wolfowitz said many responses from NATO officials seemed to key in on the Latin phrase, "Civis pace para bellum," or if you want peace, you have to prepare for war."

The Iraqis have until Dec. 8 to produce an honest, comprehensive list of their chemical, biological, nuclear WMD development programs and missile delivery systems to U.N. weapons inspectors now in Iraq.

President Bush said he is skeptical that Saddam will voluntarily dump his weapons and ballistic missiles. Eleven years ago, the dictator had promised the U.N. to do just that to end the Gulf War.

Bush has also said that he hopes for a peaceful solution to the Iraq problem.

The ball is now in Saddam's court, Wolfowitz noted, emphasizing that any U.S. decision to go to war with Iraq is up to the President, who'd be "in close consultation with the international community and particularly with our allies."

The issue "is not inspections, the issue is (Iraq's) disarmament," the deputy pointed out.

"It is Saddam Hussein's job to come forward with a full and complete disclosure of all the programs that he has. Then, what inspectors can do is to help verify that we have had a full disclosure of all the programs that he has," Wolfowitz explained.

"But," the deputy added, "he knows what he has: he has to disclose it and he has to get rid of it."

Wolfowitz's stop at NATO had wrapped up a Dec. 1-4 trip that had also taken him to London and Ankara, Turkey.

At a media stakeout interview held just before he left NATO headquarters, Wolfowitz noted that he'd spoken with Turkish officials about that country's continued integration with Europe specifically, its desire to join the European Union and the situation with Iraq.

Regarding the threat presented by Iraq, Wolfowitz noted that U.S. and Turkish officials agreed in Ankara "on the next concrete steps and military planning and preparations and we have chartered a course for the way forward, working together."

U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441 "does call for another meeting a meeting, not another resolution," Wolfowitz noted, inferring that if Saddam refuses to disarm, that there doesn't have to be another U.N. resolution to use force to cause Saddam to disarm.

"Now it should be clearer, I think, than ever that the international community surrounds Saddam Hussein," Wolfowitz declared. "That is vitally important, because the most likely route to achieving a peaceful resolution is through the prompt and total disarmament of Iraq's most horrible weapons of terror."

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