WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Clinton says he was encouraged by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's progress toward a consensus among U.S. allies in threatening to attack Iraq as a last resort for forcing open suspect weapons sites.

``All of us would prefer a genuine diplomatic solution,'' Clinton said today. ``But I will say again, one way or another, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them.

``That is our bottom line.''

Albright was expected at the White House later today to brief Clinton on her diplomatic mission. When she started out for Europe, the Persian Gulf and the Middle East six days ago, only Britain stood definitely with the United States in threatening to attack Iraq as a last resort for opening suspect weapons sites.

She came home today saying support in the Arab world had grown. And her aides said France had drawn closer to the U.S. views.

``While they prefer a diplomatic route, as we do, none of the Arabs have said go home and tell the president that he should not use force,'' Albright said en route to Washington.

But Arab comments were more negative.

Arab League Secretary-General Esmat Abdel Meguid said in Jordan, ``It's difficult for me to believe that any Arab country would accept a military strik