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Powell Urges U.N. to Not 'Shrink' From Disarming Iraq

By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 21, 2003 – Secretary of State Colin Powell urged his counterparts from U.N. Security Council member nations not to shrink away from their duties and responsibilities regarding the disarmament of Iraq.

"We cannot be shocked into impotence because we're afraid of the difficult choices that are ahead of us. And so we'll have much work to do, difficult work, in the days ahead," he said Jan. 20 in New York. "But we cannot shrink from the responsibilities of dealing with a regime that has gone about development, acquiring, stocking of weapons of mass destruction; that has committed terrorist acts against its neighbors and against its own people; (and) trampled human rights of its own people and its neighbors."

Powell's comments came at a Security Council ministerial session on halting terrorism. Bush administration officials have consistently maintained disarming Iraq is part of the war on terrorism.

Iraq was given a last chance to disarm in Security Council Resolution 1441, approved unanimously Nov. 8, 2002. On Dec. 8, Iraq delivered a declaration of their weapons and weapons programs. U.N. inspectors have been working in the country to verify disarmament. The inspectors are scheduled to brief the Security Council on their findings Jan. 27.

In a press conference after the session, Powell said the U.S. government "anxiously await(s) the chief inspector's report," but said he would not "prejudge" what would come next.

The United States and other countries have threatened military action to force Iraq to disarm. The government of Iraq insists the country has no weapons of mass destruction, while the Bush administration has steadfastly maintained the Dec. 8 declaration is completely false. Powell said the discovery Jan. 16 in Baghdad of a dozen empty warheads designed to carry chemical weapons is a perfect example of Iraq's deception. Iraq disclosed four more such warheads Jan. 19. Iraqi government officials said the warheads had been overlooked in accounting. "They have known for years how many chemical weapons, warheads they have. And so we had to discover, the inspectors had to discover, another cache of them last week. And then suddenly today or yesterday, the Iraqis say, 'Oh, by the way, we found four more,'" Powell said. "They know what they have. It is their obligation to come forward. And we cannot let them dribble this information, and dribble these items out for as long as they choose to in an effort to thwart the will of the international community."

He told reporters the United Nations must be firm with Iraq to remain relevant.

"There's no question that Iraq continues not to understand the seriousness of the position that it is in," Powell said. "And this is the time for it to realize that we will not just allow Iraq to frustrate the will of the United Nations, of the international community."

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