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U.S. team visits Iraq hospitals

Rahall: 'My president is serious'

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- A U.S. delegation has visited Iraq in an effort to convince officials to allow U.N. weapons inspectors full access to the country to avert a possible military strike by the United States.

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Democrat Congressman Nick Rahall and three other delegates toured Baghdad hospitals on Saturday and visited sick children, who Iraq says cannot get the medical care they need because of economic sanctions imposed after the 1991 Gulf War.

The delegation also met Iraq's health minister, and has said it will meet any other Iraqi official in an effort to make its case.

"My president is serious, there is no question about it," Rahall said, referring to President George W. Bush's threat of military action against Iraq.

"What I want to give here is peace a chance."

Also on Saturday, Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz is expected to provide Iraq's response to Bush's speech last week to the United Nations Security Council.

The U.S. leader called on the United Nations Thursday to move quickly -- within a matter of weeks, according to his advisers -- to enforce its resolutions demanding Iraq's disarmament.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri said Friday that Bush's address to the U.N. was "a lot of anti-Iraq propaganda" and contained no evidence Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. (Full story)

The U.S. delegation in Baghdad also includes former Sen. James Abourezk; James Jennings, president of Conscience International, an Atlanta-based humanitarian aid and human rights organization; and Norman Solomon, executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA), according to the IPA's Web site.

CNN's Rula Amin in Baghdad contributed to this story.




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