WASHINGTON (AP) — President Bush, pointing to a
black-market weapons network led by the father of Pakistan’s
nuclear bomb, said yesterday that no new countries should have the
ability to enrich or process nuclear material.

He argued that international efforts to combat the spread of
weapons of mass destruction have been neither broad nor effective
enough and require tougher action from all nations.

“The greatest threat before humanity today is the
possibility of secret and sudden attack with chemical or biological
or radiological or nuclear weapons,” Bush said.

“We must confront the danger with open eyes and unbending
purpose,” he said in a speech at the National Defense
University. “I’ve made clear to all the policy of this
nation: America will not permit the terrorists and dangerous
regimes to threaten us with the world’s most dangerous
weapons.”

His call to prevent countries from acquiring the equipment and
technology to enrich uranium and reprocess spent fuel for plutonium
— even if the stated intent is to build civilian power
facilities — was likely to anger Iran and North Korea and the
countries that have supplied them.

Bush for the first time publicly accused Pakistani scientist
Abdul Qadeer Khan’s network of supplying to North Korea the
centrifuge technology that is needed to make highly enriched
uranium for nuclear weapons. The administration previously had said
that it believed Khan’s network was supplying weapons
technology to North Korea, Libya and Iran but had not specified
what.

The administration and North Korea are locked in a dispute over
whether the Koreans are trying to develop nuclear weapons using
highly enriched uranium.

North Korea has acknowledged building nuclear weapons using
plutonium but denies it is trying to build a weapon with highly
enriched uranium — a key dispute as the two nations head into
talks later this month with four other countries, including
China.

With the president still being criticized over whether Iraq
possessed weapons of mass destruction, he also used the speech to
outline the role that good U.S. intelligence has played in the
ongoing dismantlement of Khan’s network, as well as
Libya’s commitment last December to give up its weapons of
mass destruction programs.

He gave much of the credit for Pakistani President Pervez
Musharraf’s action against Khan to the groundwork laid over
several years by U.S. intelligence.

Bush singled out the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog organization,
the International Atomic Energy Agency, for criticism, calling for
the creation of a special committee to focus on safeguards and
verification and to ensure that nations comply with international
obligations.

He also complained that nations such as Iran, which has been
under investigation for proliferation, have been allowed to sit on
the IAEA board of governors. “Those actively breaking the
rules should not be entrusted with enforcing the rules,” the
president said.

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