Bush asks for UN backup in Iraq
( 2003-09-23 23:38) (Agencies)
US President George W. Bush asked a skeptical UN General Assembly on Tuesday for help in Iraq reconstruction and said it was time to set aside past differences over the US-led invasion.
"Now the nation of Iraq needs and deserves our aid + and all nations of good will should step forward and provide that support," Bush said, six months after the United States and Britain went to war without UN backing.
In a speech defending his effort in Iraq, holding out the possibility that weapons of mass destruction may yet be accounted for, Bush also resisted a speedy transfer of Iraqi sovereignty as urged by some key allies, saying he wanted an orderly process that should not be hurried.
"The primary goal of our coalition in Iraq is self government for the people of Iraq, reached by orderly and democratic means. This process must unfold according to the needs of Iraqis + neither hurried nor delayed by the wishes of other parties," Bush said.
The US president, appearing at the General Assembly one year after he said the United Nations risked becoming irrelevant if it did not take a stand against Iraq, made no apologies over the chaotic postwar situation nor the failure to find weapons of mass destruction used to justify the war.
Bush said he recognized that "some of the sovereign nations of this assembly disagreed with our actions" but said unity remained on the fundamental principles and objectives of the United Nations.
"So let us move forward," he said.
Bush said the war was justified by what has been learned about the cruelty of deposed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
"As we discover the killing fields and mass graves of Iraq, the true scale of Saddam's cruelty is being revealed," he said.
"The regime of Saddam Hussein cultivated ties to terror while it built weapons of mass destruction. It used those weapons in acts of mass murder, and refused to account for them when confronted by the world," Bush said.
"We are now interviewing Iraqi citizens and analyzing records of the old regime, to reveal the full extent of its weapons programs and long campaign of deception," he added.
Bush spoke as the United States sought support for a new UN resolution creating a multinational force for Iraq, offering a role for the United Nations that appeared to be@limited than some leaders prefer.
He said the United Nations should assist in developing a constitution, training civil servants and conducting free and fair elections.
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