Bush sets deadline for war

US President George W Bush today gave Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and his sons a 48-hour deadline to leave Iraq or face military action "at a time of our choosing".

US President George W Bush today gave Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and his sons a 48-hour deadline to leave Iraq or face military action "at a time of our choosing".

In a presidential address at 1am this morning, he said increased efforts to disarm the Iraqi regime had repeatedly failed.

He warned: "A broad coalition is gathering to enforce the just demands of the world."

The President, commander in chief of 250,000 US troops poised at the borders of Iraq, sent a message to the Iraqi people: "The tyrant will soon be gone. The day of your liberation is near."


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Mr Bush issued this morning's ultimatum after UN allies refused to back his bid for a resolution sanctioning military conflict. The diplomatic defeat forced Mr Bush to move toward war with Britain, Spain, Australia and a handful of other nations in his self-described "coalition of the willing".

"No nation can possibly claim Iraq has disarmed – and it will not disarm so long as Saddam Hussein holds power," Mr Bush said.

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He added: "Should Saddam Hussein choose to confront America, people can know every measure has been taken to avoid war, and every measure will be taken to win it."

Mr Bush made a direct appeal to the Iraqi people not to resist the entrance of coalition troops into the country, and not to burn its oil fields.

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