International Community Should Remember Issue at Hand
T. Rhem, AFPS
Jan. 23, 2003 — Senior U.S. and British officials put up a united
front here today in discussing the two countries’ determination
to disarm Saddam Hussein.
of State Colin Powell and his British counterpart, Foreign Secretary
Jack Straw, said U.N. Security Council member countries need to
remember that the issue facing them is disarming Iraq, not squabbling
over how long to give U.N. inspectors to find a "smoking
not lose sight of the fact that the issue is the disarmament of
Iraq," Powell told reporters after meeting with Straw at
the State Department. "Not how much more time the inspectors
need, but how much more time should we give to Iraq when they
have not used the time they’ve been given to do what is required
of them, and that is to disarm."
several important questions should be asked of Iraq: "Why
are they trying to deceive the inspectors? Why are they not allowing
reconnaissance to take place? Why are they hiding documents in
the homes of individuals? Why are they just starting to discover
things that should have been declared? Why was the declaration
He noted the
council will make a judgment on these issues after inspectors
deliver a progress report Jan. 27. But should council members
fail to fulfill their commitments in disarming Iraq, "each
member, … including the United States, reserves the right
to act in a way that’s consistent with its international obligations,
as well as its own national interest," he said.
with Powell that the United Nations should uphold its responsibility
to disarm Iraq in accordance with Security Council Resolution
1441. Both men said they want to work through the United Nations,
but intimated they wouldn’t rely on it if the council refuses
to follow through.
British government’s) position, I think, is exactly the same as
that of the United States’ government," Straw said, "which
is that we wish to maintain that faith in the United Nations,
but there has to be reciprocal responsibility shown by the United
secretary ticked off a list of items Iraq has not accounted for,
according to U.N. inspectors: 3,000 tons of chemical precursors
used to manufacture chemical weapons; 360 tons of bulk chemical
warfare agents, including one and a half tons of VX; 30,000 munitions
for delivering chemical and biological agents; and 555 mustard
of those sets of munitions could cause lethal damage across the
region and could be used in terrorism across the world,"
French leaders in recent days have threatened to veto the use
of force and have urged the United States to give the inspectors
more time to work. Powell today reminded them of their earlier
support of Resolution 1441, which authorized "serious consequences"
if Iraq failed to disarm.
international community spoke clearly in that resolution,"
he said. "For the international community now to say, ‘Never
mind; I’ll walk away from this problem,’ or ignore it and allow
it to be strung out indefinitely with no end, I think, would be
a defeat for the international community and a serious defeat
for the United Nations process."