MANILA, Philippines -- Secretary of State James Baker said Saturday that there are 'some uses of force' against Iraq that would not require United Nations authorization.
Baker, speaking with reporters following a meeting at the Malacanang Palace with Philippine President Fidel Ramos, said Iraq has no choice but to comply with a U.N.-brokered cease-fire agreement following the Persian Gulf war.
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein must grant U.N. weapons inspectors access to the Ministry of Agriculture in Baghdad, believed to house information on the renegade regime's ballistic missile program. Saddam, who has refused for several weeks to open the building, says he never will.
Baker, attending the annual meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, indicated that the Bush administration feels it is authorized by existing U.N. resolutions to use military might to force Saddam's compliance.
'There are some uses of force in that situation that practically everyone would agree would not require any new U.N. Security Council resolutions,' Baker said. 'There are some that most all would agree would require some new Security Council resolutions.'
Baker did not elaborate on what type of military action would not require additional United Nations approval.
The Secretary of State, who spent most of this week in the Middle East discussing the peace talks between Arabs and Jews, said President Bush will meet with his top national security advisors at his country retreat in Camp David, Md., Saturday evening to discuss the situation.
'Our president has not ruled out any option,' Baker said. 'United Nations Security Council resolutions ought to be complied with.'
Baker said the United States, Great Britain and 'other countries are very serious' about Saddam's most recent intransigence. On several occasions since Saddam signed the cease-fire agreement that ended Operation Desert Storm, the Iraqi strongman has attempted to block U.N. inspections.
But Saddam has always stopped his dangerous game of cat and mouse before military action was taken against him.
If Baghdad followed that same pattern, Baker said, it would just be another example of Saddam's 'cheat and retreat approach' to U.N. resolutions.