29th February 01:41
Is Bush back on the Hootch?
Bush: I'm Open to U.N. Role in Iraq Vote
2 hours, 19 minutes ago Add White House - AP to My Yahoo!
WASHINGTON - President Bush (news - web sites) is set to defend the U.S.-led
invasion of Iraq (news - web sites) when he addresses the United Nations
(news - web sites) this week, but he says he's open to the possibility of
giving the world body a role in overseeing postwar elections.
Still, Bush says he's not sure the United States will have to yield a
significantly larger role to make way for a new U.N. resolution on Iraq. He
also continued to insist on an orderly transfer of authority to the Iraqis
rather than the quick action demanded by France.
"I do think it would be helpful to get the United Nations in to help write a
constitution," Bush said in an interview taped Sunday with Fox News. "I
mean, they're good at that."
"Or, perhaps when an election starts, they'll oversee the election. That
would be deemed a larger role," he said.
In the interview, Bush said he will declare in his speech Tuesday at the
U.N. General Assembly that he "made the right decision and the others that
joined us made the right decision" to invade Iraq.
But the president said he will ask other nations to do more to help
"We would like a larger role for member states of the United Nations to
participate in Iraq," Bush said in the interview to be aired Monday. "I
mean, after all, we've got member states now, Great Britain and Poland,
leading multinational divisions to help make the country more secure."
Asked if he was willing for the United Nations to play a larger role in the
political developments in Iraq to get a new resolution, Bush responded, "I'm
not so sure we have to, for starters."
But he said he did think it would be helpful to get U.N. help in writing a
constitution for Iraq.
Germany, France and Britain have also called for more authority for the
world body in Iraq, as Washington debates with its allies over a new U.N.
resolution. British Prime Minister Tony Blair (news - web sites), however,
has not joined France's call for a quick handover of power to Iraqi, backing
the U.S. stance instead.
"The key on any resolution," Bush said, "is not to get in the way of an
orderly transfer of sovereignty based upon a logical series of steps. And
that's constitution, elections, and then the transfer of authority."
Bush said he would tell the United Nations that while some countries did not
agree with the U.S.-led military action in Iraq, it's now in the
international community's best interest to not only rebuild Iraq, but
rebuild Afghanistan (news - web sites), fight AIDS (news - web sites) and
hunger, deal with slavery and proliferation of heinous weapons.
He said the United Nations has a chance to do more as a result of U.N.
The United States argues that U.N. resolution 1441, passed unanimously in
November, provided sufficient authority for the U.S.-led war. That
resolution threatened Baghdad with "serious consequences" if it failed to
show it had handed over or destroyed its weapons of mass destruction.
"That's the resolution that said if you don't disarm there will be serious
consequences," he said. "At least somebody (the United States) stood up and
said this is a definition of serious consequences."