27-03-13

Iraq was 'liberated'…

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3 January, 2003

US will liberate Iraq, says Bush

US President George W Bush rallied US troops on Friday, telling them that a war in Iraq would be "not to conquer but to liberate".
He urged Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein to "end his defiance" of UN resolutions and avoid US-led military action.

As the US continued to amass troops in the Gulf region, Turkey's foreign minister said on Friday his government supported US pressure on Iraq, but warned that the Turkish people opposed American forces being based in their country.

In Iraq, weapons inspectors have carried out more searches ahead of a report to the UN Security Council later in January.

President Bush told cheering soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas - the largest US Army base - that America was winning its war on terror around the world.

He said terrorists were "nothing but a bunch of cold blooded killers and that's the way we are going to treat them".

"Terrorists will not be stopped by mercy or by conscience, but they will be stopped," he said. "They will be stopped by the will and might of the United States."

He said America was confronting the threat of "outlaw regimes" that sought weapons of mass destruction.

Referring to North Korea, which has threatened to restart its nuclear programme, he said the world had to speak with one voice to "turn it away from its nuclear ambitions".

Iraq 'a threat'

Mr Bush said the world had already spoken with one voice on Iraq, but President Saddam Hussein had "chosen the path of defiance".

He described the Iraqi regime as a threat to America and to its friends.

"Saddam Hussein was given a path to peace, thus far he has chosen the path of defiance.

"He knows what he must do to avoid conflict. Even now he could end his defiance - he has that choice to make.

"We prefer voluntary compliance from Iraq. Force is our last choice but if force becomes necessary to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction... to secure our country and to keep the peace, America will act deliberately, America will act decisively, and America will prevail because we've got the finest military in the world."

He added: "Should Saddam seal his fate by refusing to disarm, by ignoring the opinion of the world, you will be fighting not to conquer anybody but to liberate people."

Turkish doubts

Turkish Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis, in an interview with private NTV television, said the US was right to "narrow the circle" around Iraq.

But asked about US troops being based in Turkey - which borders Iraq - he said: "The United States is our ally but there might be issues on which the interests of allies do not meet.

"I think it is a very important decision and there are signs of opposition in the public against the deployment of tens of thousands of troops."

He said such a decision could not be taken without public and political support.

US and British warplanes already fly patrols over the northern no-fly zone in northern Iraq.

If Washington was allowed to deploy large numbers of troops in Turkey it could attack Iraq from the south and north.

The US already has about 60,000 troops stationed in the Gulf region with more on the way.

It was confirmed on Friday that units of the 45,000-strong US 1st Marine Expeditionary Force are being ordered to the Gulf. The force already has a forward base in Kuwait.

United Nations weapons inspectors continued their searches on Friday, visiting a factory north of Baghdad that makes solid fuel for missiles.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/2625981.stm

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