1,934. 2/23/2001

In a joint press conference with Prime Minister Blair, President George W. Bush had this to say regarding Secretary of State Colin Powell’s trip to the Middle East to discuss the sanctions: “Well, that’s the work we’ve got to do. First, our beef is not with the people of Iraq; it’s with Saddam Hussein. And, secondly, any time anybody suffers in Iraq, we’re concerned about it. And I would, however, remind you that Saddam’s got a lot of oil money and it would be helpful if he would apply it to helping his people. Having said that, to the extent the sanctions are hurting the Iraqi people, we’re going to analyze that. Colin is really going to listen. He’s going to solicit opinion from our friends and folks in the Middle East. And prior to formulation of any policy, we will have listened, and then I will, of course, consult with friends and allies such as the Prime Minister here, as we develop a policy that we hope and know will be more realistic. The Prime Minister said something interesting, though. A change in sanctions should not in any way, shape or form, embolden Saddam Hussein. He has got to understand that we are going to watch him carefully and, if we catch him developing weapons of mass destruction, we’ll take the appropriate action. And if we catch him threatening his neighbors, we will take the appropriate action. A change in the sanction regime that is not working should not be any kind of signal whatsoever to him that he should cross any line of — and test our will, because we’re absolutely determined to make that part of the world a more peaceful place by keeping this guy in check.”

 – Transcript, “Remarks by the President and Prime Minister Blair in Joint Press Conference,” George W. Bush – White House Archives online, Accessed on 6/17/2016

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