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Powell: The Issue Is Iraqi Compliance, not More Inspectors

By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 9, 2003 – As some nations called for more U.N. inspectors backed by U.N. peacekeeping forces, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell held firm to the U.S. position that Iraq must disarm or face serious consequences.

"The issue is not more inspectors or more robust inspections," Powell said Sunday morning on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos. "The issue is will Iraq comply? Will it give up its weapons of mass destruction?"

According to press reports, Germany and France will present a plan to the United Nations later this week calling for more reconnaissance flights and more inspectors backed by a multinational military force. Powell said he has not seen the French-German plan reported in the German magazine Der Spiegel.

"What are these blue-helmeted U.N. forces going to do?" he asked. "Shoot their way into Iraqi compounds?" If the French-German plan ignores continued Iraqi compliance, he said, it is attacking the problem the wrong way.

"We need a change in Baghdad, not a change in the inspections," Powell said.

U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441 called on Iraq to "come clean," he stressed, but Iraq has failed to do so. Iraq is not giving up its weapons of mass destruction. It is not telling the world what happened to the mustard gas, anthrax, botulinum toxin that could kill millions and millions of people.

U.N. inspectors are not supposed to play detectives and run all over Iraq looking for this material, Powell said.

"Iraq is supposed to be bringing the material forward," he continued. "If they were doing what they were supposed to be doing, the inspectors that are there would be more than enough. You could do it with half as many inspectors."

The chief U.N. inspectors are slated to report the results of their latest visit to Baghdad to the Security Council Feb. 14. Powell said the United Nations must not allow Iraq to continue its game of deception and denial week after week.

"They're trying to stretch this out in the hope that it will just sort of dissipate and fall apart and everyone will go walking away," he said.

The danger Iraq poses can't be ignored, Powell stressed. U.S. and U.N. officials have sought a peaceful solution for 12 years to no avail. If the United Nations is to remain relevant as a world leader, it's time to deal with the problem once and for all, he said.

"And if the U.N. finds itself not capable of dealing with it," he concluded, "then the president -- with a lot of nations joining in -- we will deal with it."

END

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