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Military strikes seen only option to get rid of Saddam: Lee.

SINGAPORE, Sept. 24 Kyodo

Singapore Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew said late Monday that a regime change in Iraq is required and military strikes against the country are seen as the only option to get rid of President Saddam Hussein.

''Few doubt that the U.S. will act to remove Saddam unless he hands over his weapons of mass destruction,'' Lee said at Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp's 125th anniversary dinner in Singapore late Monday.

''The U.S. will have to attack before the end of winter in March, next winter might be too late,'' Lee added.

Lee, however, said the U.S. ''could find itself in Iraq for a long time, unknown how long.''

He warned the war ''will further complicate relations between the U.S. and countries with Muslim populations, especially if victory is not swift.''

Lee also said it will ''further complicate Southeast Asian governments' ability to manage political and economic change'' in the post-Sept. 11 (2001) world.

The economic impact on East Asia will depend on how long the war lasts, he said.

Lee said the war will not change the strategic equation in East Asia where the issue remains how the U.S. deals with a rising China.
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Publication:Asian Political News
Geographic Code:9SING
Date:Sep 30, 2002
Words:203
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