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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

07 March 2003

Powell Discounts Need for U.N. Security Council Summit to Deal with Iraq

(Says U.S. favors Security Council vote in coming week) (1980)
Secretary of State Colin Powell says the United States does not see a
need for the heads of state or government of the countries that sit on
the U.N. Security Council to meet in an effort to resolve the impasse
over what to do about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.
"I don't see a particular need for a heads of state and government
meeting at the Security Council, which really isn't the place to deal
with issues like this or the forum to deal with issues like that,"
Powell told reporters at the United Nations in New York March 7.
Powell said it is clear that Iraq continues to refuse to comply fully
with U.N. demands that it eliminate its weapons of mass destruction.
He said the countries that advocate a continuation of inspections
leave many questions unanswered.
"Others believe that just continuing the inspections, but they never
quite say how long. For months? How many months? For what purpose?
With what additional inspectors? And can anyone commit to me and
guarantee the international community that we will achieve disarmament
just with more inspections without a fundamental change on the part of
Iraq to come into full compliance, and therefore full cooperation,
with the verification and monitoring activities of the inspectors,"
Powell said.
Powell said the United States favors bringing a resolution on the
issue of Iraqi disarmament to the Security Council for a vote sometime
in the coming week.
"I believe in the very near future, sometime next week, that
resolution ought to be brought to the Council for a vote, and let's
see where everyone is. And I don't think this just can continue on and
on and on," Powell said.
Following is the transcript of Powell's remarks to reporters at the
U.N.:
(begin transcript)
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
March 7, 2003
Remarks By Secretary Of State Colin L. Powell
After United Nations Security Council Debate
March 7, 2003
New York, New York
(2:15 p.m. EST)
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I'm
prepared to take any questions you might have.
QUESTION: Sir, France suggested to bring together the heads of state
for one last-ditch effort to try and forge a consensus on this matter,
and if you have heard of this idea, what do you think of it?
SECRETARY POWELL: I did hear the idea. I was in the Council when
Dominique de Villepin mentioned it. I think the history of this is
that Security Council meetings at heads of state level, and we've only
had two of those in any recent history that anyone can remember, both
were principally for ceremonial purposes.
I think we have all had good opportunity over the last month to
express our views openly and candidly with each other here in the
Council at ministerial level, and our heads of state and government
are in constant touch with each other. They have a solid understanding
of each other's positions. So, at the moment, I don't see a particular
need for a heads of state and government meeting at the Security
Council, which really isn't the place to deal with issues like this or
the forum to deal with issues like that.
QUESTION: Sir, the last time you were here, the Security Council was
divided, and today it is again, as we see, is divided. What's wrong?
Also, you have seen everyone's cards today. How are you going to play
it?
SECRETARY POWELL: What's wrong is there is a fundamental difference of
opinion as to what Iraq is doing, and I think a number of us tried to
make the case today that Iraq still is not fully complying,
unconditionally complying, immediately complying. That was the
standard of 1441. We knew what we were doing when we passed that
resolution. It does not take a long time to comply. Just get on with
it. Don't keep confusing the world. Don't keep handing out little bits
of information. Don't keep grudgingly responding to what the
inspectors ask for and what they need.
Iraq knows what it is supposed to do. It was made clear in 1441. There
are those of us who believe therefore that it is time to deal with
that basic reality that Iraq is not complying. Others believe that
just continuing the inspections, but they never quite say how long.
For months? How many months? For what purpose? With what additional
inspectors? And can anyone commit to me and guarantee the
international community that we will achieve disarmament just with
more inspections without a fundamental change on the part of Iraq to
come into full compliance, and therefore full cooperation, with the
verification and monitoring activities of the inspectors.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, Jack Straw is trying to find some more time,
to have a compromise for a few days. Do you have the patience for that
now?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, I think the amendment to the resolution put
down by Foreign Secretary Straw is, of course, one we support and
worked on with Mr. Straw in developing, along with our Spanish
colleagues. And I believe in the very near future, sometime next week,
that resolution ought to be brought to the Council for a vote, and
let's see where everyone is. And I don't think this just can continue
on and on and on, and I think Mr. Straw powerfully made the point that
the reason we are getting compliance is because the presence of the
armed forces of the United States and the United Kingdom. The
inspectors have their jobs to do. We have put out powerful, strong
political resolutions and determinations, political determination. But
it's also the presence of military force that is causing Iraqi
compliance. We've got to keep that pressure up. We've got to let him
know that it's going to come to a head in the very near future.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, the French Foreign Minister stressed the
importance of the United Nations in the world. What would it mean for
the United Nations if you went ahead with war without being authorized
by the UN? Would you sacrifice the UN for the sake of going to war?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, we have no intention of sacrificing the UN.
And my concern right now is the clear will of the UN, as expressed in
1441. They are in material breach, come into compliance, and serious
consequences will follow. And we have had four months to see how that
resolution has unfolded and the actions they have taken, and it seems
to me the UN is damaged when there are members who do not want to
stand up to the requirements of that resolution and take the action
that was clearly intended in the absence of Iraqi compliance.
The UN is a very noble institution, it's been here over 50 years, and
it will continue to serve a purpose in the future. You will remember
the resolution that was mentioned so frequently earlier today,
Resolution 1284. That was debated here in the Council for some seven
to nine months, and France abstained in the final analysis.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, the French Foreign Minister suggested that it
could be an idea for heads of government, heads of states, to come
here for the vote next week. Is that something you'd be in favor of?
SECRETARY POWELL: I just said a moment ago -- I did answer that one.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, what is wrong -- what is unreasonable about
the French suggestion that we have achieved now active, proactive
cooperation from Iraq, according to both these chief inspectors for
the last month, and we have achieved, thanks to your presence and
pressure in the Middle East area with your forces, now that we
achieved this, why do we want to go back to the conflict?
SECRETARY POWELL: Because I don't think we've really achieved that
much. When you see the 167-page paper that we are making reference to,
and if you read every page of it, as we have recently, and when you
see the history associated with each one of these programs for weapons
of mass destruction, and when you see the questions that are
remaining, questions that could have been answered anytime over the
past five years, the past ten years, and remain unanswered, what you
are seeing is a continued pattern of lack of cooperation. And that is
a problem for us.
We are seeing some cooperation on process. We see when they are up
against a wall, when they know there's going to be another
ministerial-level meeting at the Security Council, suddenly some more
action is taken. Only when they see this kind of pressure and they're
afraid that the Security Council might act in a united way, do they
step forward and take additional steps to make the inspectors believe,
make us believe, that they're really in compliance when they really
aren't.
Yes, sir.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, this resolution and this amendment are
somewhat sketchy. It doesn't -- once again does not define full
cooperation or any of the other terms that are used. What is to say
that if it's adopted we won't be here on March the 17th arguing again
about whether Iraq is in full, immediate cooperation?
SECRETARY POWELL: We know what full compliance should look like and we
know what it does not look like, and it does not look like full
compliance now. They have known for these past 12 years what the
requirements are, what the benchmarks are, what they are supposed to
do, what we are expecting from them. And for 12 years, they have
failed to comply, they have failed to cooperate. More than that, they
have done everything to divide, to deceive, to put out practice of
deceptions.
And what we are saying is in this amendment to the resolution we are
laying out clearly, I think, in that third operative paragraph, what
we are looking for in order to see whether or not Iraq has or has not
lost this last chance is with --
QUESTION:  When you say you know -- 
SECRETARY POWELL:  Yeah, I know.
QUESTION: We've just heard a different interpretation this morning
about --
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, there are different interpretations. There are
some people who simply, in my judgment, don't want to see the facts
clearly. I do not see the level of cooperation that should satisfy us
that Iraq is complying in a way that we would know they are no longer
going to have weapons of mass destruction and they have given up the
intent, the desire, to have weapons of mass destruction.
One more, then I have to go.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, are you saying that Hans Blix doesn't see the
facts clearly, and is it not the U.S. who is making the UN look
irrelevant by failing to listen to the man who sent over there to find
out what's going on?
SECRETARY POWELL: No, we listened very carefully to Hans Blix, and I
thought he gave a very thoughtful, balanced report. But even Dr. Blix,
if you listen very carefully to his report and read his report, he
expresses concern about the level of cooperation that he has received.
I give all credit to Dr. Blix and Dr. ElBaradei and the terrific
people who work for them for the work they have been doing, but that
work is being frustrated by the continuing actions on the part of
Saddam Hussein and his regime to keep them from doing their job
properly. And their job is to assist Iraq in the process of coming
into compliance, and that's what Iraq has not yet decided to do.
Thank you.
(end transcript)
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



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