LONDON – Prime Minister Tony Blair said he was confident Sunday of securing a fresh United Nations resolution on stripping Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction.
Britain and the United States are preparing a draft resolution that would call on Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to reveal all materials relating to weapons of mass destruction and to give U.N. weapons inspectors unfettered access to presidential sites.
"I hope and believe we will get the resolution that we want," Blair told the British Broadcasting Corp.'s "Breakfast with Frost" program.
"I totally understand the concerns that people have, the worries that they have about precipitate military action.
"But the United Nations has taken a very clear position on this. It said Iraq must disarm itself of these weapons, the existence of these weapons in the hands of this regime is a threat to the world ... and the United Nations has to be the way of dealing with it, not avoiding it."
But Blair also said discussions were continuing with the other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council -- France, Russia and China -- which have the power to veto any proposed resolution.
"It is probably not quite as definite as it may appear from some of the papers," he said.
Blair has been President Bush's staunchest ally on Iraq and last week released a dossier claiming Saddam has stockpiled chemical and biological weapons, and is trying to develop nuclear arms.
The British leader again hinted he was prepared to consider military action if the United Nations did not agree to the resolution.
"Let us just wait and see where we get to ... the sensible thing is to get the resolution but make it clear to Saddam there is no way of avoiding this. It will happen either through the United Nations inspections route or it will happen otherwise, but it will happen," he said.
Asked whether regime change in Iraq was Britain's goal, Blair said the current focus was disarmament, but that in itself would have a huge impact on the operation of the Saddam's leadership.
"What we know from intelligence ... is that Saddam sees the retention of these weapons as an essential part of the retention and maintenance of his regime," he said.
Blair declined to comment on whether two resolutions -- one to send in the inspectors and one to deal with the consequences if Saddam doesn't obey -- were being considered.
"We can leave that open for the moment. The most important thing is to get a very clear determination from the United Nations Security Council saying ... these chemical, biological, potentially nuclear weapons pose a real danger to the world," Blair said.
"We must make it absolutely clear that Saddam and the Iraqi regime have one choice. They either agree to disarm themselves of these weapons that they should never have had in the first place or, alternatively, action will follow."