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Powell, Straw Answer Questions After Security Council Meeting

Aired January 20, 2003 - 12:57   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Let's go to the United Nations now. The secretary of state is just wrapping up some meetings he's had at the U.N. Security Council. I believe he's speaking right now.

JACK STRAW, BRITISH FOREIGN MINISTER: ... so far as Iraq is concerned, the leading rogue state, we all in the Security Council look forward to the reports from Dr. Blix and Dr. ElBaradei, which will be put before the Security Council a week today. I can't anticipate those reports, they're not mine, but better for the inspectors. But what I can say is, that when 1441 was passed on the 8th of November, the international community unanimously required Iraq fully to comply with all the obligation they set out. And also said in the closing paragraph 13 of that resolution, and I quote, "that serious consequences would follow if Iraq failed to comply." So time for Iraq is running out. And Iraq must stop this cat and mouse game.

I'm unimpressed with what they have done today, finding a few more shells, offering a bit more cooperation. Because the simple truth is, they should have been cooperating in this way from the very minute that Resolution 1441 was passed.

Couple of questions.

QUESTION: The fact is, it's high time that the rogue states are listed rather than just using ambiguity (ph) of rogue states. And secondly, those who are front line allies against terrorism, the way they are being treated, are you satisfied that they are being treated as allies in the real sense?

STRAW: Well, the Security Council on a case-by-case basis does indeed identify states which are failing to meet their clear international obligations. And the one at the top of that list is Iraq.

Yes, sir?

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) said something to the effect that there's a moment that will have to come when patience runs out, seems that moment is approaching with Iraq. Some countries, like France, are saying that any unilateral action without a United Nation resolution has no international legitimacy. Your country strongly prefer a resolution now. Where does that leave us?

STRAW: Well, Security Council Resolution 1441 sets out very clearly the process to be adopted if there is evidence either in the hands of the inspectors or of member-states of any further material breach by Iraq. And there has to be further reports. And then, a very prompt meeting of the Security Council. That will happen.

Our preference is for a second Security Council resolution. But we have to reserve the right, as we did over Kosovo for a second resolution if the second resolution cannot (ph) be achieved.

Two last questions. Yes, sir?

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, what exactly do you think or do you want the Iraqis to do before you say: We are satisfied. We are not going to war.

STRAW: We want the Iraqis fully to comply with the very clear obligations, which they know about, set out in 1441.

Last one, please.

QUESTION: Your government has said in the past that perhaps the inspections could go on a little bit longer. Do you think that the inspectors, as Mr. Blix has said, need more time? And are you willing to wait a little bit longer?

STRAW: Well, obviously, we take very careful account of what the inspectors have said and may say in the future. We await their reports to the Security Council on next Monday with very great interest.

Thank you very much, indeed.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Wrapping up the Security Council meeting, British foreign secretary Jack Straw addressing reporters. Soon to step up to the podium, Secretary of State, Colin Powell.


PHILLIPS: Another pledge from Baghdad today to help the weapons inspectors, but the United States is warning the inspections cannot last forever.

And late this morning, Great Britain announced a major troop deployment. All this occurring as the clock ticks toward a possible deadline one week from today. We'll begin in Athens, Greece.

CNN's Richard Roth there along with two major players who have just visited Baghdad -- Richard.

RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR U.N. CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei, the lead international arms inspectors on Iraq are headed here to a hotel on the outskirts of Athens after a flight from Baghdad. They left there several hours ago. The two men representing the U.N. working out a ten-page, ten-item agreement with the Iraqi government.

Is it peace in our time, to quote a former U.S. president? Well, not so fast. One of the points says that Iraq will encourage scientists to have interviews with the U.N. in private. This is something the U.N. has been trying to achieve. Baghdad has been reluctant to grant this. Also, access to all sites. A couple of days ago, the United Nations weapons inspectors searched some homes. Scientists were upset, so was the government. Chief inspector Hans Blix is pleased with this agreement.


HANS BLIX, CHIEF U.N. WEAPONS INSPECTOR: We had the other day also a visit to the home of a private scientist, and some documents were found in that. We think that that confirmed our view that we must go to private sites because there have been reinstated that some of these sites have documents, and it was proven then.

Now, the Iraqi side have said that they will encourage people also to give access to their houses. So -- there were the other private homes, private sites in the country, like industries and farms and what not, but the same will apply that the Iraqi side will encourage people to open up also for private sites.


ROTH: So, the Iraqi government will encourage scientists to hold interviews in private with U.N. officials and those talks, possibly...

PHILLIPS: Richard Roth, we're going to have you stand by. We are going to go back to the Security Council meeting that just got out, and secretary of state -- actually, that is Richard Roth. There we go. Secretary of State Colin Powell addressing reporters. Let's listen in.

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: ... as presidency of the council. You have followed the proceedings and you will see the resolution, so I'll take whatever questions you might have.

QUESTION: Do you know if the United States has to come back to the Security Council for another resolution to act militarily? And if I can ask a second question ...

POWELL: No, let's do one at a time.

As 1441 lays out clearly, Iraq has an obligation to provide to the inspectors all the information that they need to do their job. Iraq has an obligation to have submitted a complete, accurate declaration. Iraq has an obligation to create conditions within Iraq so the inspectors can do their work and not guess at where things might be.

And so far Iraq is not complying with the obligations it has under 1441.

I noted that today Dr. Blix and Dr. ElBaradei have made a statement that they've gotten a little more from Iraq, but it's just more of the same. Only under pressure does Iraq respond.

And so we will anxiously await the chief inspector's report next Monday, and then I think the council has to examine Iraq's behavior against the requirements of 1441 and make a judgment as to what should happen next.

I will not say now, I will not prejudge now what the council might do with respect to a second resolution, or what have you. Let's wait and see what the inspectors say.

QUESTION: You just made a few comments about appreciating Pakistan for its role in the -- as a front-line ally against terrorism. But the fact is that the people of Pakistan don't think that they are being rewarded or they are being appreciated more than lip service in this matter. Pakistanis in America are being targeted for racial profiling for immigration purposes and all that.

Is that the reward to an ally who has been on the front line twice against Afghanistan?

POWELL: I think we have done a great deal for Pakistan over the last roughly 16 months since 9/11. We have removed a lot of obstacles to trade, we have provided Pakistan with additional access to markets, we have provided Pakistan with economic assistance and various forms of relief.

We have been in close touch with the Pakistani government. I think we provided some assistance in defusing the crisis of last year between Pakistan and India.

I do know, however, that our registration procedures, NSEERS, that applies to a number of countries is having a negative effect. I have discussed this with President Musharraf and with Foreign Minister Kasuri, but I think one has to appreciate that the United States has an obligation to secure our borders.

And the purpose of these procedures is not to target anyone or to intimidate anyone. It's to get a better understanding of who is in our country. And we welcome people coming -- we welcome people to America. We have to secure our border, but we want to make sure our doors are open. And so those individuals who are here and who are here legally, with proper documentation, have nothing to fear from these registration procedures. There are some who do have concerns, and I encourage them to step forward, register and resolve whatever out-of- status situation they may be in.

There is a certain risk to that. But nobody should see this as something targeted against Pakistan. It's an effort to know who is in our country and to secure our borders.

QUESTION: Your words in front of the Security Council today sounded like an ultimatum to the members of the Security Council, sort of, fish or cut bait. Are you telling everyone that the U.S. will go unilaterally and did you mean to make an ultimatum to the council members?

POWELL: What I was responding to was some comments that had been made by other Security Council members in the course of the debate. And the point I was making was that the Security Council has a responsibility under 1441 to bring Iraq into compliance with its obligations to the international community. And I wanted there to be no mistake about this. And time is running out.

There's no question that Iraq continues not to understand the seriousness of the position that it is in. 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.

If the United Nations is going to be relevant, it has to take a firm stand with respect to Iraq's continuing disregard of its obligations under 1441 and other resolutions.

QUESTION: But Mr. Blix and some other council members, today -- the Chinese foreign minister -- said that this is just the beginning, that today's finding of more chemical warheads, this agreement and the 27th report is just the beginning. How do you reconcile this with the opinion of other members?

POWELL: It's very easy to reconcile. This is not the beginning. 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."

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.

QUESTION: On another issue, if I could, while we have you, on North Korea, what are you hearing from the people across the table? When would you like Security Council to get involved in North Korea? And how are you going to assuage the fears of their neighbors, specifically China, perhaps Russia, that this issue is not yet right for the Security Council?

POWELL: There is solidarity within the international community reflected in the vote of the Board of Governors of the IAEA two weeks ago, 35 nations condemning North Korea for its actions with respect to nuclear proliferation. I saw that solidarity reflected in the conversations that I've had here today.

North Korea has chosen to ignore the resolution from the IAEA and to dismiss it. And I think the IAEA, therefore, has an obligation to refer the matter to the Security Council for the Security Council to make its own judgment as to what it wishes to do.

I'm in close consultation with all of my colleagues in the region, as well as on the Security Council. And we are pursuing diplomatic approaches to the solution to this problems. As President Bush has said repeatedly, we have no intention of invading or attacking Iraq (sic) and we're looking for a diplomatic solution. And there have been some interesting elements that have come forward.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) a few months ago when President Bush came to the United Nations. To what extent is your department under pressure from other parts of the administration to take a more stringent line on Iraq now?

POWELL: We are unified within the administration. We made it clear, the international community said, "Bring this to the United Nations." President Bush did that. He did that in a powerful speech in September. That was followed by Resolution 1441.

The pressure is on Iraq. Iraq has the responsibility right now to avoid a conflict, to avoid a war. It would be a very simple matter for this regime to come clean, recognize that we will not be deterred from our obligations to the world to disarm this regime of its weapons of mass destruction.

And so all of the eyes of the world should be on what Saddam Hussein and Iraq does in order to comply with the will of the United Nations. There's no disagreement within the American administration.

QUESTION: There's seems to be a lot of disagreements here among you, foreign secretary of Germany, of France, about second resolution, about compliance from Iraqis. How are you going to deal with these?

And second question...

POWELL: Let's stick with one because there are a lot of people here.


POWELL: Let me answer that question. We will deal with it in the manner that we have laid out in the resolution in our discussions. Next Monday, the two chief inspectors will report to the council. The council will consider what they present to the council. And then there will be a debate beginning that day, and then another debate or a continuation of the debate on the 29th.

And I can assure you that in the days after that there will be many conversations between me and my colleagues on the Security Council and I suspect between heads of state and government to determine what the next step should be, and to make a judgment as to whether or not Iraq is disarming.

If Iraq is disarming, then there may be a solution to this crisis without conflict. But if Iraq is not disarming, the United Nations cannot simply turn its head away and ignore this lack of respect that Iraq has for the United Nations and the international community. And we must not be afraid to meet the challenges that are ahead.

One more, then I got to go.

QUESTION: Mr. Sharon, the prime minister of Israel, said over the weekend that the Europeans are biased against Israel and pro- Palestinian. Do you have a point of view on that? And he said also that the only ones that Israel agrees with are the Americans.

POWELL: We are fully supportive of the quartet, which we helped create, which consists, as you know, of the United States, the Russian Federation, the United Nations and the European Union. We have worked very hard to develop a road map that we believe will give us a way forward and will lead us on to a path that will result ultimately in the creation of a Palestinian state. That is President Bush's objective.

And we look forward to moving head with our efforts. When the Israeli election is over, I think there will be an opportunity to put new energy to these peace process to do something about the terrible situation that is affecting both people, both the Palestinians and the Israelis; both sides are suffering.

And we have to find a way forward. And we remain committed to the work of the quartet and we remain committed to the road map, and we believe it provides a way forward.

Thank you. Thank you.

PHILLIPS: Secretary of State Colin Powell once again addressing reporters. Security Council addressing a number of issues from the Israeli/Palestinian situation to North Korea to Iraq. Nothing tremendously new. North Korea, he does make the point, no invasion is planned. He does believe a diplomatic solution can be found.

Meanwhile in Iraq, Iraq continuing to not comply with the U.N. resolution. Secretary of State Colin Powell making a point that August -- or January 27 still an important date. They will discuss whether it's a second resolution or one step closer to war with Iraq that will take place.

Now, back to Richard Roth in Athens, Greece, where just moments ago, U.N. chief weapons inspector Hans Blix made comments, also -- Richard.

ROTH: Yes, obviously Secretary of State Powell and British Foreign Secretary Straw not giving any life, not letting that 10-point agreement that Baghdad and the U.N. inspectors worked out, not letting it get any oxygen before that January 27 briefing by Hans Blix. Secretary of State Powell saying time running for out for Baghdad, and that there's still a lot for Baghdad do.

Hans Blix, chief weapons inspector, and Mohamed ElBaradei, International Atomic Energy Agency director-general, arrived here just minutes ago at an Athens Hotel, outskirts of Athens, right behind me, right behind that wall and that window and those doors. They are talking with George Popadeo (ph), the foreign minister of Greece, president of the European Union during this six-month period.

Hans Blix, upon arrival, in a brief statement, made it clear, there are still outstanding issues between the inspectors and the government of Iraq, including the U2 overflights, and weapons of mass destruction.


HANS BLIX, CHIEF U.N. WEAPONS INSPECTOR: For our part, we have not had Iraqi agreement on flying the U2 planes that we wanted. They put up a number of conditions that were not acceptable to us. And of course really, we have not discussed the open issues, the issues that were open from the past about weapons of mass destruction. They were supposed to be answered in the 12,000 pages, and we don't think they were, and we say to the Iraqis that maybe they should provide some further information, or at least tell people where they feel there's relevant information in the 12, 000 pages.

So there's still needs things to be done, but there were a number of points where I think we managed to make practical arrangements that are useful.


ROTH: Iraq still failing to account for supplies, amounts of VX, nerve agents, anthrax, items like this which many members of the council will be listening closely for information about when Hans Blix briefs on the 27th. He leaves Athens tomorrow morning, and Mohamed ElBaradei heads back to Vienna -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Richard Roth, from Athens, Greece, thank you.

And you may be seeing lots more of this man, he's General Richard Meyers, head of the joint chiefs of staff, America's top official in uniform. Today, Meyers has been in Turkey, which could play a key role in the war with Iraq, but is driving a hard bargain.

CNN's Jane Arraf is in the Turkish capital to tell us more -- Jane.

JANE ARRAF, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kyra, General Meyers left Ankara saying he had frank and open discussions with the Turkish general, which is usually a way of saying that there were areas of disagreement.

Now in Turkish terms, the United States is asking quite a lot, permission to base up to 80,000 American ground forces here. But Meyers told reporters that he wanted to make clear that war was not inevitable, but the point was to show Iraq that the U.S. and its allies are serious.


GEN. RICHARD MEYERS, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF CHAIRMAN: We're not talking about an attack on Iraq. What we're talking about, and what we've said over time, is that the U.S. has been deploying forces to the region to put -- to help reinforce the diplomatic efforts that are working through the United Nations, and other means to convince the Iraqi regime of our resolve, that they must do what they're called to do under the U.N. Security Council resolution.


ARRAF: Now, Myers made clear that Turkey was strategic ally. He started off the day with a ceremony met with Turkish generals, and basically, listened to their concerns.

Now, they have quite a few concerns. One of them is that there's a very strong antiwar sentiment here against their Iraqi neighbor, as well as fears this could really ruin the Turkish economy further. The other is that they're not sure how they'll be compensated. Turkey has made clear that it will cooperate with the U.S. It is a very strong U.S. ally, but probably not to the extent that the United States would want -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Live from Turkey, Jane Arraf, thank you.



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