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For Immediate Release
January 21, 2003
Presidential Remarks to Reporters Following Meeting with Economists 1/21/03
Q Thank you. Thank you, Mr. President. The French are saying they would block a U.N. resolution authorizing force on Iraq. Are you frustrated by these comments? Can you still reach a consensus?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, Adam, first of all, it's important for the American citizens and the citizens around the world to understand that Saddam Hussein possesses some of the world's deadliest weapons. He poses a serious threat to America and our friends and allies. The world came together, including the French, to say he must disarm. He's not disarming. As a matter of fact, it appears to be a rerun of a bad movie. He is delaying, he is deceiving, he is asking for time. He's playing hide-and-seek with inspectors.
One thing is for certain, he's not disarming. So the United States of America, in the name of peace, will continue to insist he does disarm, and we will keep the pressure on Saddam Hussein.
Q Mr. President, when do you intend to make a decision about whether or not the inspection process is -- actually has any hope of really disarming Saddam?
THE PRESIDENT: It's clear to me now that he is not disarming. And, surely, our friends have learned lessons from the past. Surely we have learned how this man deceives and delays. He's giving people the run-around. And as many of my advisors said on TV this week, time is running out. I believe in the name of peace he must disarm. And we will lead a coalition of willing nations to disarm him. Make no mistake about that, he will be disarmed.
Q When -- how do you decide when that moment comes that you need to make a judgment?
THE PRESIDENT: I will let you know when the moment has come. (Laughter.)
Q Mr. President, who is in that coalition of the willing now? Are France, Germany out?
THE PRESIDENT: You will find out who is in the coalition of the willing. It is very much like what happened prior to our getting a resolution out of the United Nations. Many of the punditry -- of course, not you -- (laughter) -- but other punditry were quick to say, no one is going to follow the United States of America. And we got a unanimous resolution out of the United Nations.
The United States has made it clear our intention, and our intention is to work with the world for Saddam to disarm. He's been given ample time to disarm. We have had ample time now to see that the tricks of the past -- he's employing the tricks of the past today. He's giving people the run-around. He wants to play hide-and-seek. He's got a vast country.
He wants to focus the attention of the world on inspectors. This is not about inspectors; this is about a disarmed Iraq. He has weapons of mass destruction -- the world's deadliest weapons -- which pose a direct threat to the United States, our citizens and our friends and allies. He has been told to disarm for 11 long years. He's not disarming.
This business about, you know, more time -- you know, how much time do we need to see clearly that he's not disarming? As I said, this looks like a rerun of a bad movie and I'm not interested in watching it.
All right, thank you, all.
END 10:41 A.M. EST