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18 August 2003

U.S. Stays on the Offensive While Sabotage Hits Iraq

White House Report, August 18; Iraq, Libya, North Korea


White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said that recent sabotage attacks in Iraq on an oil pipeline and water pipe are a reminder that as Iraq continues to make progress, "there will be those remnants of the former regime and foreign terrorists who are enemies of the Iraqi people that will continue to seek to carry out attacks."

McClellan, speaking to reporters in Crawford, Texas, August 18, said the United States is on the "offensive" in Iraq.

"We are going after those remnants of the former regime," he said. "We are going after those foreign terrorists. These are people that seek to prevent the Iraqi people from having a brighter future, from having a future that is free and democratic, from having an Iraq that is governed by the Iraqi people."

"Our troops are going after these remnants. They're going after these foreign terrorists and finding them. And they will continue to do that and defeat them wherever they may be."


McClellan said that the U.S. sanctions against Libya for the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am jetliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, will remain in place because "there are still a number of serious concerns we have with regard to Libya."

Libya recently accepted responsibility for the bombing and has agreed to set up a $2.7 billion fund to compensate the families of the bombing's 270 victims, say reports.

"Libya has met the requirements of accepting responsibility for the Pan Am 103 bombing, and that was important that they accept that responsibility," said McClellan. "They have sent a letter to the United Nations to that effect."

McClellan said that he expects the United Nations to move forward soon on a resolution to end U.N. sanctions against Libya. The United States, he said, has already sent a letter saying that it is not opposed to lifting the U.N. sanctions.

"United States sanctions will remain in place because we still have a number of serious concerns when it comes to Libya, most notably, their continued pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and their continued participation in regional conflicts in Africa that have been very destructive and unhelpful," said McClellan. "Libya continues to have a poor human rights record. So there are a number of concerns we still have."

Asked whether U.S. exercises in the Coral Sea to train military forces to seize arms, missiles and other weapons from ships could be seen as a plan to prevent North Korea from exporting weapons, McClellan said, "This is a partnership, a cooperative effort with countries all across the world to counter proliferation."
The exercises are part of a program, known as the Proliferation Security Initiative, that President Bush and other world leaders announced at a May meeting in Krakow, with 11 nations participating, McClellan pointed out.
"[T]hose are exercises that we said would be carried out in partnership with other nations to prepare -- to make sure that we are better prepared to interdict operations that involve proliferation," said McClellan.

North Korea is "probably the most serious proliferator of missiles and related technologies," said the press secretary.

"The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is a serious concern," he said. "It is something that we are moving forward on in partnership with other countries committed to eliminating that threat or reducing that threat."

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:

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