WASHINGTON, Sept. 9 (UPI) -- White House lobbying of foreign leaders on the need for "muscle" in dealing with Iraq continued in earnest Monday, with President George W. Bush working the phones before leaving for Detroit for a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien.
Bush, who last week telephoned the leaders of key Security Council members -- France, Russia and China -- spoke Monday with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who is the current EU president, and Turkish President Acmet Necdet Sezer, spokesman Ari Fleischer said.
Calls were scheduled for later in the day to George Robertson, NATO's secretary-general, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah.
"The president is calling as part of his ongoing consultations with leaders around the world about the situation in Iraq, and he's also urging them to listen carefully to his speech at the United Nations," Fleischer said.
Bush, who speaks before the U.N. General Assembly Thursday, was expected to outline Washington's rationale for action against Iraq.
Fleischer said Bush's consultations put some force to previous U.N. resolutions on Iraq. Baghdad has been accused of violating U.N. Security Council resolutions.
"It's clear that both the Congress and the U.N. are returning to an issue that had not gotten sufficient attention in recent years, and now some muscle looks like it's being put at least rhetorically into the deliberations of the world's leaders," Fleischer said.
The United States argues Iraq's pursuit of weapons of mass destruction -- and suspected possession of some forms of such weapons -- poses a clear and imminent threat to regional and world peace.
National security adviser Condoleezza Rice, speaking on television Sunday, said the world could not afford to wait for definitive, incontrovertible proof of Iraq's possession of weapons, including nuclear arms, because the "smoking gun" could turn out to be "a mushroom cloud."
"There's no doubt that he has chemical weapon stocks," Secretary of State Colin Powell added on another program in an administration blitz of the airwaves.
Powell said Saddam also has stocks of biological weapons, and was probably continuing to try to develop more. He also said Saddam continued to try to pursue nuclear weapons' technology.
Washington's unilateral saber rattling has produced strong notes of dissent from allies in the Middle East and Europe, a situation now being addressed by Bush in his domestic and international consultation phase prior to making a decision on action.
French President Jacques Chirac in a newspaper article Monday put forward a plan for a strict U.N. warning and 3-week deadline for Iraq to allow the resumption of weapons' inspections before any military action would be taken. The White House on Monday did not comment on the Chirac plan.
Bush's trip to Detroit and meeting with Chretien was to focus on implementation of a "smart border" program to tighten security along the frontier and yet not impede the heavy flow of trade across it.
Part of the program includes pre-screening of cargo before it reaches the border. Other measures include better cooperation on immigration issues and pre-screening low-risk travelers between the two nations.
It was widely expected Bush would also lobby Chretien on Iraq and the need for strong action, including military force if needed, but Fleischer Monday declined to indicate such.
Chretien has expressed caution on the question of military action. Canada's Deputy Prime Minister John Manley, speaking on a Sunday television show, said Canada would oppose any pre-emptive military strike by Washington.
"They'd be going in without Canadian support," he said.
Bush, who will visit the former site of the World Trade Center in New York on Wednesday for a wreath-laying and commemoration ceremony on the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks on that site, plans a series of bilateral meetings on Iraq in the city before and after his U.N. address.