“I take personal responsibility for everything I say,” Bush said at a wide-ranging White House news conference, his first such solo performance since March.

Bush has been under fire for the now discredited claim made  by him about Iraq seeking to buy uranium from Niger for making nuclear weapons.

The inability of the US-led forces to uncover any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq till date has fuelled the controversy further.

Bush, however, stuck to his guns and defended his decision to go to war.

“I analysed a thorough body of intelligence—good, solid, sound intelligence—that led me to come to the conclusion that it was necessary to remove Saddam Hussein from power,” he said.

But faced with mounting pressure to justify the war, the president pleaded for more time.

“In my line of work its always best to produce results.”--President Bush

“Its going to take time for us to gather the evidence and analyze the mounds of evidence, literally, the miles of documents that we have uncovered,” he said.

The president agreed he needed to produce the evidence. “In my line of work its always best to produce results,” he said.

Palestine goal 'realistic' 

The president also expressed hopes of producing results in bringing peace to the Middle East.

He insisted the goal of a Palestinian state by 2005 was still “realistic” and “claimed pretty good progress in a short period of time” since he unveiled the peace road-map for the region. 

President George W. Bush with
Palestinian PM Mahmud Abbas

Hours after North Korea renewed its call for direct talks with the US, Bush revealed he had just spoken by telephone with his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao as part of his drive to defuse the nuclear crisis hovering over the Korean peninsula.

“I told President Hu that it is very important for us to get Japan and South Korea and Russia involved, as well,” Bush said.

“We are actually beginning to make serious progress about sharing responsibility on this issue, in such a way that I believe will lead to an attitudinal change by North Korean leader Kim Jong 11,” he said.

Bush also urged collective international pressure to frustrate Iran’s alleged nuclear aspirations.

“We have go to work in a collective way with other nations to remind Iran, that, you know, they shouldn’t develop a nuclear weapons,” he said.