The United States wants Australian military support if President George Bush decides to launch a pre-emptive strike against Iraq's President Saddam Hussein. US Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Armitage, told the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper: "If that is the President's decision, as in every major endeavor since 1941 we'd want to be involved with our Australian allies." But he added: "That's a decision that rests with Canberra and not with Washington". The Australian Attorney-General, Daryl Williams, said it was "a very difficult question to answer" as to whether the US legally required a UN mandate to invade Iraq. Any request to Australia would be considered on its merits, and the Government would take account of its own interests and the international legal position. The former Opposition leader, Kim Beazley, warned against Australia committing ground forces to any war with Iraq, saying the military was overstretched and not equipped or trained for such an operation. Henry Marconi PRAVDA.Ru Sydney
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