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Powell to Present Intel on Iraq to U.N. Security Council

By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 29, 2003 – Secretary of State Colin Powell plans to go before the U.N. Security Council Feb. 5 to fill some gaps in information about problems U.N. inspectors are meeting in Iraq.

President Bush said during his State of the Union Address Jan. 28 that Powell will brief the Security Council on information the United States has collected about Iraqi deceptions in the disarmament process.

In Washington today, following a meeting at the State Department with Pakistani Foreign Minister Khursid Mehmood Kasuri, Powell said the information he presents will expand on things U.S. officials have been saying.

"Some of it is information that has been given to inspectors, and some of it will be new information that (is) not really relevant to the inspectors' work, but relevant to making the case with respect to the Hussein regime's possession of weapons of mass destruction," he said.

The Iraqi Ambassador to the United Nations, Mohammed Al- Douri, said this morning in New York that President Clinton claimed in 1998 to have destroyed all Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. He wondered aloud why two American presidents were contradicting each other.

Powell said Al-Douri's comments referred to Operation Desert Fox. "A great deal of damage was inflicted, I'm quite sure, on the targets that the Clinton administration and the military at that time went after," Powell said. "But I don't think anybody would claim that those strikes in and of themselves pulled up the entire infrastructure."

In a Grand Rapids, Mich., speech about Medicare, Bush briefly turned to Iraq to explain why it is so crucial to disarm Saddam Hussein soon. He said the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks shattered America's confidence that geography protects it from foreign attack.

"Before September the 11th, during a period when a lot of us thought oceans would protect us forever from gathering threats far from our land, the thought of containing somebody like Saddam Hussein made sense," he said.

Not so any longer. "The battlefield is here," Bush said. "And therefore, we must address threats today as they gather before they become acute."

The president said he's convinced there may still be a peaceful outcome in Iraq. "The idea of committing troops is my last option, not my first. I understand the terrible price of war. I understand what it means to put somebody into combat," he said. "I've thought long and hard about this. The risks of doing nothing, the risk of assuming the best from Saddam Hussein is just not a risk worth taking."

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