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Bush to U.N.: Be more than a 'debating society'

President presses for action on Iraq

President Bush arrives for a get-out-the-vote rally in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, where he spoke about the U.S. position on Iraq.
President Bush arrives for a get-out-the-vote rally in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, where he spoke about the U.S. position on Iraq.

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CNN's Richard Roth says the U.S. faces continued resistance from France and Russia on a resolution over Iraq
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DOWNINGTOWN, Pennsylvania (CNN) -- As permanent members of the United Nations Security Council discussed a new U.S. proposal designed to win consensus on Iraq, President Bush urged the council Tuesday to take action -- and again stated his intent to act outside the U.N. if necessary.

At a campaign speech for Pennsylvania state senator Jim Gerlach, Bush prefaced his arguments against Iraq with references to the September 11 attacks. Bush said he "started and stimulated a discussion" on Iraq because now there was a "new reality" for the American people.

Bush then said, "For the sake of having an international body which is effective, the U.N. ... must be resolved to deal with this person, must resolve itself to be something more than a League of Nations, must resolve itself to be more than just a debating society, must resolve itself to help keep international peace."

"It's an important time in our history to determine whether or not we're going to be a nation which is willing to work with other nations to keep the peace. The answer is 'you bet' but if they won't, if the U.N. can't make its mind up, if Saddam Hussein won't disarm, we will lead a coalition to disarm him for the sake of peace, " Bush said.

Reported compromise on mandate

On Monday, United States diplomats delivered a draft resolution on Iraq to the U.N. Security Council's permanent members. The new proposal reportedly offers a compromise in the kind of mandate that will apply as U.N. weapons inspectors return to Iraq.

The five permanent members of the council were talking over the new draft on Tuesday. (Full story)

The United States wants a tougher mandate that avoids delays in the use of military force to enforce the inspections.

Iraq has offered to accept the inspectors under existing U.N. resolutions that were in effect in 1998, when the inspections collapsed. The inspectors are now awaiting the council's decision before returning.

Language circulated by the Bush administration last week indicated that it was willing to go along with a resolution saying that if Iraq failed to cooperate, weapons inspectors would report to the Security Council, which would immediately convene to consider next steps.

Western diplomats said the implication in the language is that the United States would not take military action before any council meeting on a violation, but it would not have to wait for the council to agree on a formal resolution authorizing a response.

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