Iraq's President Saddam Hussein has staved off an allied attack by promising United Nations inspectors unrestricted access to alleged chemical, biological and nuclear weapons sites. For the past 11 years, he has toyed with the world community and failed to comply with UN resolutions, but he cannot be given any more chances. The message from United States President George W. Bush and Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair is clear - Mr Hussein will suffer the consequences if he does not abide by his word and allow independent searches for weapons of mass destruction. Mr Hussein has taken months of war threats from Mr Bush to heart. It is not coincidental that four days after Mr Bush called on the UN General Assembly to support military action, Mr Hussein said he would allow the inspectors to return. Within hours of Mr Blair's presentation on Tuesday to the British Parliament of a dossier purportedly detailing Baghdad's weapons programme, the Iraqi leader said he would allow the inspectors 'unfettered access'. Mr Hussein has made such claims before. Each time, restrictions have been placed on the inspectors after their arrival, making it impossible to carry out their mandate. This time, the UN cannot allow such deceit. Mr Hussein has denied claims that his country poses a threat to world peace and could, as Mr Blair said, carry out a chemical or biological weapons attack within 45 minutes. He can only be believed if the inspectors find no evidence of weapons found to violate international conventions. A UN resolution being drafted by the US and Britain will define the remit of the inspectors and the consequences if Iraq does not comply. The inspectors are already preparing for their return to Baghdad and should arrive in the middle of next month. Mr Bush and Mr Blair have failed to win support from the UN and its members for an attack aimed at overthrowing Mr Hussein. Their evidence of Iraq's threat to global security has not been convincing. They have toned down their rhetoric and will give Mr Hussein one last chance. The US cannot act militarily against Iraq. Only the UN, through the agreement of its members, can order such action. For the sake of Iraq's sanctions-weary people, Mr Hussein must this time keep his promise. The time for diplomacy has passed and he must allow the world to see that Iraq does not pose a threat. Failure to do so can only lead to the consequences already outlined plainly by the US and Britain.