Not Complying With U.N. Resolution, Powell Says
By Jim Garamone,
WASHINGTON–Iraq has not made the strategic decision
to disarm and cooperate with U.N. weapons inspectors, Secretary
of State Colin Powell told the U.N. Security Council last week.
Powell spoke following reports from Hans Blix,
chief U.N. weapons inspector, and Mohammad ElBaradei, director
of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The secretary said all the U.N. discussions on
Iraq come down to one question: Has the Iraqi regime made the
fundamental strategic and political decision to comply with the
U.N. Security Council resolutions and to rid itself of all its
weapons of mass destruction? Powell thinks not.
"The answer to that question does not come
from how many inspectors are present, or how much more time should
be given, or how much more effort should be put into the inspection
process," he said. "The answer depends entirely on whether
Iraq has made the choice to actively cooperate in every possible
way, in every possible manner in the immediate and complete disarmament
of itself of its prohibited weapons. That’s what (U.N. Security
Council Resolution) 1441 calls for."
Powell said he was pleased to hear of some progress
on disarmament, but he was sorry to learn that it still is coming
in a grudging manner, that Iraq is still refusing to offer what
was called for by 1441 — "immediate, active and unconditional
"Not later, immediate. Not passive, active.
Not conditional, unconditional in every respect. Unfortunately,
in my judgment," Powell said, "despite some of the progress
that has been mentioned, I still find what I have heard this morning
a catalog … of noncooperation."
Grudging cooperation from Iraq is not the result
of some change of heart, he pointed out, but because of the threat
of military force and by the political will of the Security Council.
Blix had hinted at that as well.
The written report on outstanding disarmament
issues that Blix submitted to the United Nations is 167 pages
of solid research that adds up to "a damning record of 12
years of lies, deception and failure to come clean on the part
of Iraq," Powell said.
He said U.S. officials found nearly 30 instances
in the report where Iraq refused to provide credible evidence
substantiating its claims, and 17 examples when the previous inspectors
actually uncovered evidence contradicting Iraqi claims.
"We see instance after instance of Iraq lying
to the previous inspectors and planting false evidence — activities
which we believe are still ongoing," Powell said. "As
you read this document, you can see page after page of how Iraq
has obstructed the inspectors at nearly every turn over the years."
The secretary said the world organization has
been led down this road by Iraq before.
"In March 1998, Saddam Hussein was also faced
with the threat of military action," he said. "He responded
with promises to provide inspectors at that time with immediate,
unconditional and unrestricted access. The then-chief inspector
reported to this council a new spirit of cooperation, along with
his hope that the inspectors could move very quickly to verify
Iraq’s disarmament. We know what happened to that hope."
The secretary told the Security Council that no
one wants war. But the only reason there has been any progress
at all, he continued, is the presence of a large military force
from nations "willing to put their young men and women in
harm’s way in order to rid the world of these dangerous weapons."
Progress against Iraq doesn’t come from simply
passing resolutions, he said. "It comes from the will of
this council, the unified political will of this council and the
willingness to use force, if it comes to that, to make sure that
we achieve the disarmament of Iraq.
"Now is the time for the council to tell
Saddam that the clock has not been stopped by his stratagems and
his machinations," he said. "The clock continues to
tick, and the consequences of Saddam Hussein’s continued refusal
to disarm will be very, very real."