Bush challenges U.N. to 'show some backbone'
CAMP DAVID, Maryland (CNN) -- U.S. President George W. Bush called on the United Nations on Saturday "to show some backbone," and confront the threat posed by Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.
He said that the international organization runs the risk of becoming irrelevant if it fails to act.
"The United Nations deserves another chance to prove its relevance," the president said. "We're entering a new era. Wars of the future are not going to be fought like wars of the past."
"This is a chance, he said, "for the United Nations to show some backbone and resolve as we confront the challenges of the 21st century."
Bush made the comments during a meeting with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, a strong U.S. ally in the war against terrorism. Italy committed about 2,700 troops to the war in Afghanistan.
Bush said Hussein has broken every pledge he made to the United Nations since Iraq was defeated after invading Kuwait in 1990.
"Saddam Hussein has defied the United Nations 16 times -- not once, not twice, 16 times he has defied the U.N.," Bush said. "The U.N. has told him after the Gulf War, what to do, what the world expected and 16 times he's defied it."
Bush said that "enough is enough."
The United Nations must take the actions necessary as a peacekeeping organization to retain its status, the president said.
"Make no mistake about it, if we have to do deal with the problem, we'll deal with it," Bush said.
The Bush administration has been urging members of the U.N. Security Council to pass tough new resolutions requiring Iraq to end its weapons program.
Bush warned the U.N. General Assembly Thursday that if Iraq didn't honor the resolutions within weeks, the United States could act.
A U.S. delegation, led by Rep. Nick Rahall, D-West Virginia, visited Baghdad Saturday to urge officials there to accept U.N. weapons inspectors. (Full story)
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