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USIS Washington 
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13 March 1998

WHITE HOUSE REPORT, FRIDAY, MARCH 13, 1998

(Saddam Hussein, Ireland, King Hussein, China trip, week ahead) (890)


White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry briefed reporters at early
morning and early afternoon sessions.


ADMINISTRATION STUDYING SENATE RESOLUTION ON SADDAM HUSSEIN



Asked if the Clinton administration regards Saddam Hussein as a war
criminal, McCurry said "this administration has not formally joined in
any such charges, but especially in light of the Senate resolution
that has passed, you certainly could make a good argument that he
deserves that designation and we are going to study the resolution
passed by the Senate carefully."


He said "The Senate can pass a sense of the Senate resolution. It has
no practical legal effect. But I think for the United States
government to make that declaration, we would most likely want to do
it in concert with others. And that's why it deserves a careful review
and probably some further diplomatic work, before we do an
off-the-top-of-our-head assessment."


The Senate March 13 voted 93-0 to declare Saddam Hussein an
international war criminal and to urge creation of a United Nations
tribunal to indict, arrest and try him.


The non-binding resolution was a largely symbolic gesture, even
sponsors conceded, although some supporters said it could lay the
groundwork for later direct U.S. action to topple the Iraqi president.


The resolution, sponsored by Senators Byron Dorgan (Democrat-North
Dakota) and Arlen Specter (Republican-Pennsylvania) declares that
Saddam used chemical weapons on his enemies, both inside and outside
Iraq, waged war against Iran and Kuwait, attacked Israel and plotted
the assassination of former President Bush. It accuses Saddam and
unnamed other Iraqi officials of "crimes against humanity, genocide
and other violations of international law."


There is no counterpart measure in the House of Representatives.


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