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Key points from President Bush's news conference on Iraq

Bush:
Bush: "If the Iraqi regime were disarming, we would know it because we would see it."

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President George Bush held a rare prime-time news conference Thursday. Following are some of his remarks on key issues.

On Iraq's cooperation:

If the Iraqi regime were disarming, we would know it because we would see it. Iraq's weapons would be presented to inspectors and the world would witness their destruction.

Instead, with the world demanding disarmament, and more than 200,000 troops positioned near his country, Saddam Hussein's response is to produce a few weapons for show, while he hides the rest and builds even more.

Inspection teams do not need more time or more personnel. All they need is what they have never received, the full cooperation of the Iraqi regime.

On the U.N. Security Council:

The fundamental question facing the Security Council is will its words mean anything; when the Security Council speaks, will the words have merit and weight? I think it's important for those words to have merit and weight, because I understand that in order to win the war against terror, there must be a united effort to do so. And we must work together to defeat terror.

On North Korea:

Obviously I'm concerned about North Korea developing nuclear weapons, not only for their own use, but for -- perhaps they might choose to proliferate them, sell them. They may end up in the hands of dictators, people who are not afraid of using weapons of mass destruction, people who try to impose their will on the world or blackmail free nations.

On anti-war protests:

I appreciate societies in which people can express their opinion. That society -- free speech stands in stark contrast to Iraq. [...] I recognize there are people who don't like war. I don't like war.

I wish that Saddam Hussein had listened to the demands of the world and disarmed. That was my hope. [...] But in the name of peace and the security of our people, if he won't do so voluntarily, we will disarm him, and other nations will join him -- join us in disarming him.

And that creates a certain sense of anxiety. I understand that. Nobody likes war.

On France and Germany's position:

If they think more time will cause him to disarm, I disagree with that. He's a master of deception. He has no intention of disarming. Otherwise, we would have known.

There's a lot talk about inspectors. It would have taken a handful of inspectors to determine whether he was disarming. They could've showed up at a parking lot and he could've brought his weapons and destroyed them.

That's not what he chose to do.

On disarming Iraq:

I want to remind you that it is his choice to make as to whetheror not we go to war. It's Saddam's choice. He's the person that can make the choice of war and peace. Thus far, he's made the wrong choice. If we have to, for the sake and the security of the American people, for the sake of peace in the world and for freedom to theIraqi people, we will disarm Saddam Hussein. And by we, it's more than America. A lot of nations will join us.

On the final descision to go to war:

I've not made up our mind about military action. Hopefully, this can be done peacefully. I believe that, as a result of the pressure that we have placed, and others have placed, that Saddam will disarm and/or leave the country.


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