Arab League Backs Iraq, Supports Inspections
After a two-day conference, ministers from Arab states issued a resolution declaring their “total rejection of the threat of aggression on Arab nations,” and saying “these threats and any threat to the security and safety of any Arab country are considered a threat to Arab national security.”
Although he and his fellow ministers denounced the U.S. for considering a strike on Iraq, Moussa urged Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein to allow the return of United Nations weapons inspectors.
“The return of inspectors is an important step,” he told reporters after the conference. “Serious discussions are under way between Iraq and the United Nations right now.”
The Iraqi government has refused to allow inspection teams into the country since 1998. The UN first ordered economic sanctions and mandatory rounds of weapons inspections following Iraq’s 1991 defeat in the Gulf War.
The League’s resolution praised Iraq for talking with the UN and considering the resumption of inspections. Iraq has said it’s ready to discuss allowing inspections, but only if it will lead to an easing of UN sanctions and an end to U.S.- and British-enforced no-fly zones over Iraq’s northern an southern territories.
Meanwhile, President Bush told a crowd in Kentucky that “history has called us [the United States]” into action against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.
“We can’t let the world’s worst leaders blackmail, threaten, hold freedom-loving nations hostage with the world’s worst weapons,” the president said.
The Bush administration has maintained Saddam is building a stockpile of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.
Mr. Bush said he was “look[ing] forward to a dialogue” on the Iraq question. On Wednesday, he told House and Senate leaders he would seek congressional approval before launching an operation in Iraq. He’s scheduled to make his case to the international community during a speech to the United Nations on Sept. 12.