WASHINGTON – President Bush and U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan agreed Wednesday that the war on terror has affected every region of the world and people of all faiths, and called on countries to stand together to defeat the "scourge" of terrorism.
"We need to work to deprive terrorists of the opportunities by not giving them haven, by not giving them financial and logistical support," Annan said during a scheduled visit to the White House.
At a private meeting between Bush and Annan, the president was expected to ask the U.N. chief to take a tough line on Iraq and its evasion of weapons inspections, especially now that inspectors have received all clearances to head back into Iraq for the first time in four years.
Saddam sent a letter to the United Nations on Wednesday saying that he accepts the return of weapons inspectors, authorized by a unanimously passed U.N. Security Council resolution.
Annan thanked the president for working with the Security Council and said that chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix and an advance team "will go back" to Iraq on Monday to begin their search for the chemical, biological and nuclear weapons Iraq is said to be secretly developing.
Administration officials say they aren't encouraged by Saddam's letter, adding that they have heard it all before from him, that his actions speak louder than words.
As far as officials are concerned, Saddam has not adopted the right attitude with the new weapons inspections program. The Iraqi ambassador to the United Nations, Mohammed Al-Douri, immediately declared the country to be "clean" of weapons, a ridiculous claim, according to the White House.
Such misleading statements will prove costly under the terms of the Security Council's resolution.
"The resolution clearly spells out for the regime in Iraq that any false information or omissions are considered a violation of the resolution and would be considered a further material breach. That's all spelled out in the resolution," said White House spokesman Scott McClellan on Wednesday.
Bush has vowed that Saddam will face a "zero tolerance policy" when it comes to compliance and the United States will put up with "no deception or denial or deceit."
Speaking to reporters just as news of the letter broke, Bush said Iraq will comply or face the consequences.
"A diverse group of nations in the Security Council spoke with one voice; the United States Congress spoke with one voice; and that is, in the name of peace he must disarm. If he chooses not to disarm, we will disarm him. That should be clear to Saddam Hussein and everybody else," Bush said, without elaborating on how this disarmament would be achieved.
Some immediate questions do arise, however, and the White House answers were unclear. For example, Iraq fires at U.S. and British warplanes in the no-fly zone every week, if not every day.
Deputy Press Secretary Scott McClellan wouldn't say what happens the next time that occurs, but he left open the possibility that Iraq could be in breach of the new resolution, long before the weapons inspectors even get to Iraq.
"It makes clear in the resolution that, if there are violations, the countries or the inspectors are to report them to the U.N. Security Council where there will be further discussion about what consequences may follow. But just because there are discussions at the Security Council that does not prohibit the president from using his authority to act with like-minded nations, if need be," McClellan said.
Earlier in the day, the president added that he hopes Saddam listens to the U.N. members, but he will not be held back by its inaction should the Iraqi leader betray the United Nations.
"I have told the United Nations we'll be glad to consult with them, but the resolution does not prevent us from doing what needs to be done, which is to hold Saddam Hussein into account," Bush said.
Fox News' Wendell Goler contributed to this report.