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Security Council Hears, Responds to Blix Report

Aired March 7, 2003 - 10:35   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: The president of the Security Council, the foreign minister of Guinea, is now opening up the meeting.
The president of the Security Council rotates every month. This is Francois Fal (ph), the foreign minister of Guinea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The 4,714th meeting of the Security Council is called to order. As this is the first meeting of the Security Council for the month of March, I should like to take this opportunity to pay tribute on behalf of the Council to his excellency, Mr. Joschka Fischer, vice chancellor, and minister for foreign affairs of Germany for the leadership he provided in presiding over important deliberations of the council during the preceding month.

I should also like to pay tribute on behalf of the council to his excellency, Mr. Gunther Pleuger, permanent representative of Germany to the United Nations for his services as president of the Security Council for the month of February, 2003.

I am sure I speak for all members of the council in expressing deep appreciation to Ambassador Pleuger for the great diplomatic skill with which he conducted the council's business last month.

The provisional agenda for this meeting is before the council in document S stroke agenda, stroke 4714 which reads -- quote -- "the situation between Iraq and Kuwait" -- end of quote.

Unless I hear any objection, I shall consider the agenda adopted.

The agenda is adopted. I should like to inform the council that I have received a letter from the representative of Iraq in which he requests to be invited to participate in the discussion of the item on the council's agenda. In accordance with the usual practice, I propose, with the consent of the council, to invite that representative to participate in the discussion without the right to vote, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the charter, and rule 37 of the council's provisional rules of procedure.

There being no objection, it is so decided. I invite the representative of Iraq to take a seat at the council table.

In accordance with the understanding reached in the council's prior consultations, I shall take it that the council agrees to extend an invitation under Rule 39 of its provisional rules of procedure to Dr. Hans Blix, executive chairman of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission. It is so decided. I invite Dr. Blix to take a seat at the council table.

In accordance with the understanding reached in the council's prior consultations, I shall take it that the Security Council agrees to extend an invitation, under Rule 39 of its provisional rules of procedure, to Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

It is so decided. I invite Dr. ElBaradei to take a seat at the council table.

Now, I should like to welcome the presence of the distinguished secretary-general, his excellency, Mr. Kofi Annan at this meeting.

The Security Council will now begin its consideration of Item 2 of the agenda. The Security Council is meeting in accordance with the understanding reached in its prior consultations.

Members of the council have before them document S -- stroke -- 2002 -- stroke -- 232, which contains the note by the secretary- general transmitting the 12th quarterly report of the executive chairman of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission.

I should also like to call the attention of members of the council to a letter dated 3 March 2003 addressed to the president of the Security Council from Malaysia, document S -- stroke -- 2003 -- stroke -- 246.

At this meeting, the Security Council will hear briefings by Mr. Hans Blix, executive chairman of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission, and Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

I now give the floor to Dr. Hans Blix, executive chairman of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission.

You have the floor, sir.


Mr. President, for nearly three years, I've been coming to the Security Council presenting the quarterly reports of UNMOVIC. They have described our many preparations for the resumption of inspections in Iraq.

The 12th quarterly report is the first that describes three months of inspection. They come after four years without inspections. The report was finalized 10 days ago, and a number of relevant events have taken place since then. Today's statement will supplement the circulated report on these points to bring the council up to date.

Inspections in Iraq resumed on the 27th of November, 2002. In matters relating to process, notably prompt access to sites, we have faced relatively few difficulties, and certainly much less than those that were faced by UNSCOM in the period 1991 to 1998. This may well be due to the strong outside pressure.

Some practical matters which were not settled by the talks Dr. ElBaradei and I had with Iraqi side in Vienna prior to inspections or in Resolution 1441 have been resolved at meetings which we have had in Baghdad.

Initial difficulties raised by the Iraqi side about helicopters and aerial surveillance planes operating in the no-fly zones were overcome.

This is not to say that the operation of inspections is free from frictions, but at this juncture we are able to perform professional, no-notice inspections all over Iraq and to increase aerial surveillance.

American U-2 and French Mirage surveillance aircraft already give us valuable imagery, supplementing satellite pictures, and we would expect soon to be able to add night-vision capability through an aircraft offered to us by the Russian Federation. We also expect to add low-level, close-area surveillance through drones provided by Germany.

We are grateful not only to the countries which place these valuable tools at our disposal, but also the states, most recently Cyprus, which has agreed to the stationing of aircraft on their territory.

Mr. President, Iraq, with a highly developed administrative system, should be able to provide more documentary evidence about its proscribed weapons programs. Only a few new such documents have come to light so far and been handed over since we began inspections. It was a disappointment that Iraq's declaration of the 7th of December did not bring new documentary evidence.

I hope that efforts in this respect, including the appointment of a governmental commission, will give significant results.

When proscribed items are deemed unaccounted for, it is, above all, credible accounts that is needed, or the proscribed items if they exist.

Where authentic documents do not become available, interviews with persons who may have relevant knowledge and experience may be another way of obtaining evidence. UNMOVIC has names of such persons in its records, and they are among the people whom we seek to interview.

In the last month, Iraq has provided us with names of many persons who may be irrelevant sources of information, in particular persons who took part in various places of the unilateral destruction of biological and chemical weapons and proscribed missiles in 1991.

This provision of names prompts two reflections. The first is that with such detailed information existing regarding those who took part in the unilateral destruction, surely there must also remain records regarding the quantities and other data concerning the various items destroyed.

The second reflection is that, with relevant witnesses available, it becomes even more important to be able to conduct interviews in modes and locations which allow us to be confident that the testimony given is given without outside influence.

While the Iraqi side seems to have encouraged interviewees not to request the presence of Iraqi officials, local minders or the taping of the interviews, conditions ensuring the absence of undue influences are difficult to attain inside Iraq. Interviews outside the country might provide such assurance. It is our intention to request such interviews shortly.

Nevertheless, despite remaining shortcomings, interviews are useful. Since we started requesting interviews, 38 individuals were asked for private interviews, of which 10 accepted under our terms, seven of these during the last week.

As I noted on the 14th of February, intelligence authorities have claimed that weapons of mass destruction are moved around Iraq by trucks, in particular that there are mobile production units for biological weapons. The Iraqi side states that such activities do not exist.

Several inspections have taken place at declared and undeclared sites in relation to mobile production facilities. Food-testing mobile laboratories and mobile workshops have been seen, as well as large containers with seed-processing equipment. No evidence of proscribed activities have so far been found.

Iraq is expected to assist in the development of credible ways to conduct random checks of ground transportation.

Inspectors are also engaged in examining Iraq's programs for remotely piloted vehicles. A number of sites have been inspected with data being collected to assess their range and other capabilities of the various models found, and inspections are continuing in this area.

There have been reports, denied from the Iraqi side, that proscribed activities are conducted underground. Iraq should provide information on any underground structure suitable for the production or storage of weapons of mass destruction.

During inspections of declared our undeclared facilities, inspection teams have examined building structures for any possible underground facilities. In addition, ground-penetrating radar equipment was used in several specific locations. No underground facilities for chemical or biological production or storage were found so far.

I should add that, both for the monitoring of ground transportation and for the inspection of underground facilities, we would need to increase our staff in Iraq. I'm not talking about a doubling of the staff. I would rather have twice the amount of high- quality information about sites to inspect than twice the number of expert inspectors to send.

On 14 February, I reported to the council that the Iraqi side had become more active in taking and proposing steps which potentially might shed new light on unresolved disarmament issues. Even a week ago, when the current quarterly report was finalized, there were still relatively little tangible progress to note. Hence, the cautious formulations in the report before you. As of today, there is more.

While during our meetings in Baghdad, the Iraqi side tried to persuade us that the Al-Samoud 2 missiles they have declared fall within the permissible range set by the Security Council. The calculations of an international panel of experts led us to the opposite conclusion. Iraq has since accepted that these missiles and associated items be destroyed, and has started the process of destruction under our supervision.

The destruction undertaken constitutes a substantial measure of disarmament, indeed the first since the middle of the 1990s. We are not watching the breaking of toothpicks; lethal weapons are being destroyed.

However, I must add that the report I have today tells me that no destruction work has continued today. I hope this is a temporary break.

Until today, 34 Al-Samoud 2 missiles, including four training missiles, two combat warheads, one launcher and five engines, have been destroyed under UNMOVIC's supervision. Work is continuing to identify and inventory the parts and equipment associated with the Al- Samoud 2 program.

Two reconstituted casting chambers used in the production of solid propellant missiles have been destroyed and the remnants melted or encased in concrete.

The legality of the Al-Fatah missile is still under review, pending further investigation and measurement of various parameters of that missile.

More papers on anthrax, VX and missiles have recently been provided. Many have been found to restate what Iraq already has declared, and some will require further study and discussion.

There is a significant Iraqi effort under way to clarify a major source of uncertainty as to the quantities of biological and chemical weapons which were unilaterally destroyed in 1991. A part of this effort concerns a disposal site which was deemed too dangerous for full investigation in the past. It is now being re-excavated.

To date, Iraq has unearthed eight complete bombs, comprising two liquid-filled intact R-400 (ph) bombs and six other complete bombs. Bomb fragments are also found. Samples have been taken.

The investigation of the destruction site could, in the best case, allow the determination of the number of bombs destroyed at that site. It should be followed by serious and credible effort to determine the separate issue of how many R-400-type (ph) bombs were produced.

In this, as in other matters, the inspection work is moving on and may yield results.

Iraq proposed an investigation using advanced technology to quantify the amount of unilaterally destroyed anthrax dumped at a site. However, even if the use of advanced technology could quantify the amount of anthrax said to be dumped at the site, the results will still be open to interpretation. Defining the quantity of anthrax destroyed must of course be followed by efforts to establish what quantity was actually produced.

With respect to VX, Iraq has recently suggested a similar method to quantify VX precursors stated to have been unilaterally destroyed in the summer of 1991.

Iraq has also recently informed us that following the adoption of the presidential decree prohibiting private individuals and mixed companies from engaging in work relating to weapons of mass destruction, further legislation on the subject is to be enacted. This appears to be in response to a letter from UNMOVIC requesting clarification of the issue.

Mr. President, what are we to make of these activities?

One can hardly avoid the impression that after a period of somewhat reluctant cooperation, there's been an acceleration of initiatives from the Iraqi side since the end of January. This is welcome. But the value of these measures must be soberly judged by how many question marks they actually succeed in straightening out. This is not yet clear.

Against this background, the question is now asked whether Iraq has cooperated, quote, "immediately, unconditionally and actively," unquote, with UNMOVIC, as is required under Paragraph 9 of Resolution 1441. The answers can be seen from the factor (ph) descriptions that I have provided.

However, if more direct answers are desired, I would say the following: The Iraqi side has tried on occasion to attach conditions, as it did regarding helicopters and U-2 planes. It has not, however, so far persisted in this or other conditions for the exercise of any of our inspection rights. If it did, we would report it.

It is obvious that while the numerous initiatives which are now taken by the Iraqi side with a view to resolving some longstanding, open disarmament issues can be seen as active or even proactive, these initiatives three to four months into the new resolution cannot be said to constitute immediate cooperation. Nor do they necessarily cover all areas of relevance. They are, nevertheless, welcome. And UNMOVIC is responding to them in the hope of solving presently unresolved disarmament issues.

Mr. President, members of the council may relate most of what I have said to Resolution 1441, but UNMOVIC is performing work under several resolutions of the Security Council. The quarterly report before you is submitted in accordance with Resolution 1284, which not only created UNMOVIC but also continues to guide much of our work.

Under the time lines set by that resolution, the results of some of this work is reported to the council before the end of this month.

Let me be more specific. Resolution 1284 instructs UNMOVIC to, I quote, "address unresolved disarmament issues," unquote, and to identify, quote, "key remaining disarmament tasks," unquote. And the latter are to be submitted for approval by the council in the context of a work program. UNMOVIC will be ready to submit a draft work program this month as required.

UNMOVIC, UNSCOM and the Amorin Panel did valuable work to identify the disarmament issues which were still open at the end of 1998. UNMOVIC has used this material as starting points, but analyzed the data behind it and data and document post-1998 up to the present time to compile its own list of unresolved disarmament issues, or rather clustered issues.

It is the answers to these issues which we seek through our inspection activities. And it is also from the list of these clustered issues that UNMOVIC will identify the key remaining disarmament tasks. As noted in the report before you, this list of clustered issues is ready.

UNMOVIC is only required to submit the work program with the key remaining (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to the council. As I understand, several council members are interested in the working document with a complete cluster of disarmament issues. And we have declassified it and are ready to make it available to members of the council on request.

In this working document, which may still be adjusted in the light of new information, members will get a more up-to-date review of the outstanding issues than in the documents of 1999, which members usually refer to.

Each cluster in the working document ends with a number of points indicating what Iraq could do to solve the issue. Hence, Iraq's cooperation could be measured against a successful resolution of issues.

I should note that the working document contains much information and discussion about the issues which existed at the end of 1998, including information which has come to light after '98. It contains much less information and discussion about the period after 1998, primarily because of paucity of information.

Nevertheless, intelligence agencies have expressed the view that proscribed programs have continued or restarted in this period. It is further contended that proscribed programs and items are located in underground facilities, as I mentioned, and that proscribed items are being moved around Iraq. The working document does contain suggestions on how these concerns may be tackled.

Mr. President, let me conclude by telling you that UNMOVIC is currently drafting the work program which Resolution 1284 requires us to submit this month. It will obviously contain our proposed list of key remaining disarmament tasks. It will describe the reinforced system of ongoing monitoring and verification that the council has asked us to implement.

It will also describe the various subsystems which constitute the program; for instance, for aerial surveillance, for information from governments and suppliers, for sampling, for the checking of road traffic, et cetera.

How much time would it take to resolve the key remaining disarmament tasks? While cooperation can -- cooperation can and is to be immediate, disarmament, and at any rate verification of it, cannot be instant. Even with a proactive Iraqi attitude induced by continued outside pressure, it will still take some time to verify sites and items, analyze documents, interview relevant persons and draw conclusions. It will not take years, nor weeks, but months.

Neither governments nor inspectors would want disarmament inspection to go on forever. However, it must be remembered that in accordance with the governing resolutions, a sustained inspection and monitoring system is to remain in place after verified disarmament to give confidence and to strike an alarm if signs were seen of the revival of any proscribed weapons programs.

Thank you, Mr. President.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I thank Dr. Blix for his briefing.

I now give the floor to Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Mr. Baradei, you have the floor.


Mr. President, my report to the council today is an update on the status of the International Atomic Energy Agency's nuclear verification activities in Iraq pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1441 and other relevant resolutions.

When I reported last to the council on 14 February, I explained that the agency's inspection activities has moved well beyond the reconnaissance phase -- that is, reestablishing our knowledge base regarding Iraq nuclear capabilities -- into the investigative phase, which focuses on the central question before the IAEA relevant to disarmament: whether Iraq has revived, or attempted to revive, its defunct nuclear weapons program over the last four years.

At the outset, let me state on general observation, namely that during the past four years at the majority of Iraqi sites industrial capacity has deteriorated substantially due to the departure of the foreign support that was often present in the late '80s, the departure of large numbers of skilled Iraqi personnel in the past decade, and the lack of consistent maintenance by Iraq of sophisticated equipment.

At only a few inspected sites involved in industrial research, development and manufacturing have the facilities been improved and new personnel been taken on.

This overall deterioration in industrial capacity is naturally of direct relevance to Iraq's capability for resuming a nuclear weapon program.

The IAEA has now conducted a total of 218 nuclear inspections at 141 sites, including 21 that have not been inspected before. In addition, the agency experts have taken part in many joint UNMOVIC- IAEA inspections.

Technical support for nuclear inspections has continued to expand. The three operational air samplers have collected from key locations in Iraq weekly air particulate samples that are being sent to laboratories for analysis. Additional results of water, sediment, vegetation and material sample analysis have been received from the relevant laboratories.

Our vehicle-borne radiation survey team has covered some 2,000 kilometers over the past three weeks. Survey access has been gained to over 75 facilities, including military garrisons and camps, weapons factories, truck parks, and manufacturing facilities and residential areas.

Interviews have continued with relevant Iraqi personnel, at times with individuals and groups in the workplace during the course of unannounced inspections, and on other occasions in pre-arranged meetings with key scientists and other specialists known to have been involved with Iraq's past nuclear program.

The IAEA has continued to conduct interviews, even when the conditions were not in accordance with the IAEA-preferred modalities, with a view to gaining as much information as possible, information that could be cross-checked for validity with other sources and which could be helpful in our assessment of areas under investigation.

As you may recall, when we first began to request private, unescorted interviews, the Iraqi interviewees insisted on taping the interviews and keeping the recorded tapes. Recently, upon our insistence, individuals have been consenting to being interviewed without escort and without a taped record. The IAEA has conducted two such private interviews in the last 10 days, and hope that its ability to conduct private interviews will continue unhindered, including possibly interviews outside Iraq.

I should add that we are looking into further refining the modalities for conducting interviews to ensure that they are conducted freely and to alleviate concerns that interviews are being listened to by other Iraqi parties. In our view, interviews outside Iraq may be the best way to ensure that interviews are free, and we intend, therefore, to request such interviews shortly.

We are also asking other states to enable us to conduct interviews with former Iraqi scientists that now reside in those states.

Mr. President, in the last few weeks, Iraq has provided a considerable volume of documentation relevant to the issues I reported earlier as being of particular concern, including Iraq's efforts to procure aluminum tubes, its attempted procurement of magnets and magnets-production capabilities, and its reported attempt to import uranium.

I will touch briefly on the progress made on each of these issues.

Since my last update to the council, the primary technical focus of IAEA field activities in Iraq has been on resolving several outstanding issues related to the possible resumption of efforts by Iraq to enrich uranium through the use of centrifuge. For that purpose, the IAEA assembled a specially qualified team of international centrifuge manufacturing experts.

With regard to the aluminum tubes, the IAEA has conducted a thorough investigation of Iraq's attempt to purchase large quantities of high-strength aluminum tubes. As previously reported, Iraq has maintained that these aluminum tubes were sold for rocket production. Extensive field investigation and document analysis have failed to uncover any evidence that Iraq intended to use these 81-millimeter tubes for any project other than the reverse engineering of rockets.

The Iraqi decision-making process with regard to the design of these rockets was well-documented. Iraq has provided copies of design documents, procurement records, minutes of committee meetings and supporting data and samples.

A thorough analysis of this information, together with information gathered from interviews with Iraqi personnel, has allowed the IAEA to develop a coherent picture of attempted purchase and intended usage of the 81-millimeter aluminum tubes, as well as the rationale behind the changes in the tolerance.

Drawing on this information, the IAEA has learned that the original tolerance for the 81-millimeter tubes were set prior to 1987 and were based on physical measurements taken from a small number of imported rockets in Iraq's possession.

Initial attempts to reverse-engineer the rockets met with little success. Tolerance were adjusted during the following years as part of ongoing efforts to revitalize a project and improve operational efficiency. The project language for a long period during this time and became the subject of several committees which resulted in the specification and tolerance changes on each occasion.

Based on available evidence, the IAEA team has concluded that Iraq efforts to import these aluminum tubes were not likely to have been related to the manufacture of centrifuge, and moreover that it was highly unlikely that Iraq could have achieved the considerable redesign needed to use them in a revived centrifuge program.

However, this issue will continue to be scrutinized and investigated.

With respect to reports about Iraq efforts to import high- strength permanent magnets or to achieve the capability for producing such magnets for use in a centrifuge enrichment program, I should note that since 1998 Iraq has purchased high-strength magnets for various uses. Iraq has declared inventories of magnets of 12 different designs. The IAEA has verified that previously acquired magnets have been used for missile guidance systems, industrial machinery, electricity meters and field telephones.

Through visit to research and production sites, review of engineering drawings and analysis of sample magnets, the IAEA expert familiar with the use of such magnets in centrifuge enrichment have verified that none of the magnets that Iraq has declared could be used directly for centrifuge magnetic bearings.

In June 2001, Iraq signed a contract for a new magnet production line for delivery and installation in 2003. The delivery has not yet occurred, and Iraqi documentations and interviews of Iraqi personnel indicate that this contract will not be executed.

However, they have concluded that the replacement of foreign procurement with domestic magnet production seems reasonable from an economic point of view.

In addition, the training and experience acquired by Iraq in pre- 1991 period make it likely that Iraq possesses the expertise to manufacture high-strength permanent magnets suitable for use in enrichment centrifuges. The IAEA will continue, therefore, to monitor and inspect equipment and materials that could be used to make magnets for enrichment centrifuges.

With regard to uranium acquisition, the IAEA has made progress in its investigation ito reports that Iraq sought to buy uranium from Niger in recent years. The investigation was centered on documents provided by a number of states that pointed to an agreement between Niger and Iraq for the sale of uranium between 1999 and 2001. The IAEA has discussed these reports with the governments of Iraq and Israel, both of which have denied that any such activity took place.

For its part, Iraq has provided the IAEA with a comprehensive explanation of its relations with Niger and has described a visit by an Iraqi official to a number of African countries including Niger in February 1999, which Iraq thought might have given rise to the reports. The IAEA was able to review correspondence coming from various bodies of the government of Niger and to compare the form, format, contents and signature of that correspondence with those of the alleged procurement-related documentation.

Based on thorough analysis, the IAEA has concluded with the concurrence of outside experts that these documents which formed the basis for the report of recent uranium transaction between Iraq and Niger are in fact not authentic. We have therefore concluded that these specific allegations are unfounded. However, we will continue to follow up any additional evidence if it emerges relevant to efforts by Iraq to illicitly import nuclear materials. Many concerns regarding Iraq's possible intention to resume its nuclear program have arisen from Iraq's procurement efforts reported by a number of states. In addition, many of Iraq's efforts to procure commodities and products, including magnets and aluminum tubes, have been conducted in contravention of the sanctions controlled specified under Security Council Resolution 661 and other relevant resolutions.

The issue of procurement efforts remains under thorough investigation, and further verification will be forthcoming. In fact, an IAEA team of technical experts is currently in Iraq, composed of custom investigators and computer forensics specialists, to conduct a -- which is conducting a series (ph) of investigations so (ph) inspection of trading (ph) companies and commercial organizations aimed at understanding Iraq's pattern of procurement.

Mr. President, in conclusion, I am able to report today that in the area of nuclear weapons, the most lethal weapons of mass destruction, inspection in Iraq are moving forward.

Since the resumption of inspection a little over three months ago, and particularly during the three weeks since my last ordered (ph) report to the council, the IAEA has made important progress in identifying what nuclear-related capabilities remain in Iraq and in its assessment of whether Iraq has made any effort to revive its past nuclear program during the intervening four years since inspections were brought to a halt.

At this stage, the following can be stated:

One, there is no indication of resumed nuclear activities in those buildings that were identified through the use of satellite imagery as being reconstructed or newly erected since 1998, nor any indication of nuclear-related prohibited activities at any inspected sites.

Second, there is no indication that Iraq has attempted to import uranium since 1990.

Three, there is no indication that Iraq has attempted to import aluminum tubes for use in centrifuge enrichment. Moreover, even had Iraq pursued such a plan, it would have encountered practical difficulties in manufacturing centrifuge out of the aluminum tubes in question.

Fourth, although we are still reviewing issues related to magnets and magnet-production, there is no indication to date that Iraq imported magnets for use in centrifuge enrichment program.

As I stated above, the IAEA will naturally continue further to scrutinize and investigate all of the above issues.

After three months of intrusive inspections, we have to date found no evidence or plausible indication of the revival of a nuclear weapon program in Iraq.

We intend to continue our inspection activities, making use of all additional rights granted to us by Resolution 1441 and all additional tools that might be available to us, including reconnaissance platforms and all relevant technologies.

We also hope to continue to receive from states actionable information relevant to our mandate.

I should note that in the past three weeks, possibly as a result of ever-increasing pressure by the international community, Iraq has been forthcoming in its cooperation, particularly with regard to the conduct of private interviews and in making available evidence that could contribute to the resolution of matters of IAEA concern. I do hope that Iraq will continue to expand the scope and accelerate the pace of its cooperation.

The detailed knowledge of Iraq capabilities that IAEA experts have accumulated since 1991, combined with the extended rights provided by Resolution 1441, the active commitment by all states to help us fulfill our mandate, and the recently increased level of Iraqi cooperation should enable us in the near future to provide the Security Council with an objective and thorough assessment of Iraq's nuclear-related capabilities.

However, however credible this assessment may be, we will endeavor, in view of the inherent uncertainties associated with any verification process, and particularly in the light of Iraq past record of cooperation, to evaluate Iraq capabilities on a continuous basis as part of our long-term monitoring and verification program in order to provide the international community with ongoing and real- time assurances.

Thank you, Mr. President.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): ... to council members, I wish to recall the understanding reached among ourselves, namely that all participants will limit their statements to no more than seven minutes in order to enable the council to work efficiently within its timetable.

I now call on the first speaker on my list, the distinguished deputy chancellor and minister for foreign affairs of Germany, his excellency, Mr. Joschka Fischer.

You have the floor, Mr. Minister.


Dear colleagues, Mr. Secretary General, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to congratulate his excellency, the foreign minister of Guinea, on the assumption of the office of president of the Security Council. And I thank the president for the kind words addressed to me and the German presidency of last month.

Mr. President, I would also like to thank Dr. Blix and Dr. ElBaradei for their briefing on the quarterly report. Both can count on Germany's full support. The aim of the international community remains the complete disarmament, and only the disarmament, of Iraq, to finally eliminate the international threat posed by Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. This is what all relevant Security Council resolutions say.

What is at stake now is the unity of the international community. We have taken forceful stands in our common fight against international terrorism. We fight together against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. We stand united in our condemnation of the Iraqi regime.

Where we have different views is our strategy on how to achieve effective and total disarmament of Iraq. The Security Council must not spare any effort to find a joint approach to attain our common goal.

The briefing by Dr. Blix and Dr. ElBaradei has made clear once more Iraq's cooperation with UNMOVIC and the IAEA does not yet fully meet U.N. demands. Baghdad could have taken many of the recent steps earlier and more willingly.

In recent days, cooperation has nevertheless notably improved. This is a positive development which makes all the less comprehensible why this development should now be abandoned.

There is real progress to be noted on the implementation of the relevant Security Council resolutions in all fields.

In the sphere of missile technology, there has been clear progress. Thus, Iraq informed the inspectors of its Al-Samoud missiles. After examination by UNMOVIC, it was established that their range was too long.

After Dr. Blix had set the regime in Baghdad a deadline for the destruction, Iraq began to destroy the missiles within the prescribed time frame. This is an important progress. It shows that peaceful disarmament is possible and that there is a real alternative to war.

This positive development also shows that Hans Blix's approach of giving the regime in Baghdad concrete time frames is successful. This method also ought to be used for other unresolved problems.

As far as Iraq's nuclear potential is concerned, we can note great progress. Dr. ElBaradei has just confirmed this. The accounts presented by Iraq are plausible and verifiable, cooperation on inspections is good, the IAEA is confident about reaching final conclusions soon.

Turning to biological weapons, there has also been progress in individual spheres, for example, in the excavation of many R-400 (ph) aerial bombs which are now being assessed by UNMOVIC. Baghdad has announced the presentation of a comprehensive report on open questions in the field of biological and chemical weapons. The interviews with Iraqi scientists are now taking place without monitoring or recording. Preparations are being made to conduct interviews abroad. Mr. President, France, Russia and Germany presented a memorandum to the Security Council on February the 24th proposing a tough regime of intensive inspections. On the basis of these proposals, the inspections should be stepped up and accelerated.

For this to happen, each remaining problem has to be specified and priorities have to be set. A time frame should thereby be prescribed for every single program.

Therefore, Dr. Blix and Dr. ElBaradei should present us with a detailed, comprehensive working program that clarifies how they and their teams intend to tackle the complete disarmament of Iraq as called for by the U.N. It is of great importance that this working program is presented to the Security Council without delay. We would like to hear today a statement by the inspectors on what are the remaining key disarmament issues in the cluster report that has been drawn up.

The inspections can't go on forever. The aim of disarming Iraq has to be pursued energetically and systematically. The Iraqi government has to fully cooperate with the inspectors.

But given the current situation, Mr. President, and the ongoing process, we see no need for a second resolution. Why should we leave the path we have embarked on now that the inspections on the basis of Resolution 1441 are showing viable results?

Mr. President, the Security Council is now meeting for the third time within a month at ministerial level to discuss the Iraq crisis. This shows the urgency we attach to the disarmament of Iraq and to the threat of war. The crisis in Iraq troubles our governments, it troubles the people in our countries, it troubles the entire region of the Near and Middle East.

Precisely because this situation is so dramatic, we have to keep firmly reminding ourselves what a war would mean, what endless suffering it would bring to countless innocent people, what catastrophic humanitarian consequences it would entail.

Are we really in a situation that absolutely necessitates the ultima ratio, the very last resort? I think not, because the peaceful means are far from exhausted.

Mr. President, the Security Council, in fact, we all face an important decision, probably a historic turning point. The alternatives are clear: disarmament of Iraq by war or disarmament by exhausting all peaceful means.

The risks of a military option are evident to us all. There is good reason to believe that the region would not become more stable, rather more unstable, through a war. And what is more, in the long term, international terrorism would be strengthened, not weakened, and our joint efforts to solve the Middle East conflict would be hindered.

Then, there is the alternative. If we succeed in implementing the effective and complete disarmament of Iraq with peaceful means, we will improve the framework conditions for a regional process of stability, security and cooperation based on the renunciation of the use of force, on arms control and on a cooperative system of confidence-building measures.

Mr. President, Resolutions 1441 and 1284 point a clear way forward for the Security Council. They have to remain the basis of our action. The progress of last few days have shown we have efficient alternatives to war in Iraq. By taking this path, we will strengthen the relevance of the United Nations and the Security Council.

Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The distinguished deputy chancellor and minister for foreign affairs of Germany for his statement and for his kind words addressed to me. I now call on the distinguished deputy prime minister and minister for foreign affairs of the Syrian Arab Republic, his excellency, Mr. Farouk Al-Sharah (ph).

Mr. Minister, you have the floor.

FAROUK AL-SHARA, FOREIGN MINISTER OF SYRIA (through translator): Allow me at the outset to congratulate you on presiding over the council for this month.

I would also welcome the presence of an Arab committee established in the Sharm el-Sheikh summit that was held six days ago. This committee, which is currently with us, represents the Kingdom of Bahrain in its capacity as the current chairman of the Arab summit, Republic of Lebanon as the ex-president of the summit, and the Republic of Tunisia as the next president of the summit, as was agreed upon in the summit of Sharm el-Sheikh. The committee also includes Syria, Egypt and the secretary general of the League of Arab States.

This Arab committee, in its short visit to New York, will be able to meet with some of the members of the Security Council.

Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, three weeks ago we met in this chamber, in the Security Council, to discuss the question of Iraq. That was only a short while ago, yet the rapid and important developments that have taken place since on the Middle East would have to be recalled because of their impact not only on the region, but on the future of international relations in general.

The day after our meeting here on the 14th of February, millions of people in more than 2,000 cities around the world took to the streets to say no to war on Iraq. This was an unprecedented phenomenon in history.

On the day that followed these demonstrations, the Arab ministers for foreign affairs held an emergency meeting in Cairo. The minister for foreign affairs of Greece attended that meeting in his capacity as the current president of the European Union and so did representatives of the European Commission. All the participants expressed their opposition to war and stressed the need for a peaceful solution to the Iraqi crisis to implement Security Council Resolution 1441.

France, Russia, China and Germany have repeatedly stressed with a clear determination that there is no place for war. Those countries are confident that the disarmament of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction can be achieved by peaceful means if inspections are enhanced and if the inspectors are allowed to pursue their tasks freely.

On the 25th of February, the nonaligned movement held its summit in Kuala Lumpur. It was attended by 116 states. In its final declaration the summit called for a peaceful settlement to the Iraqi crisis and stressed the need to allow the inspectors more time to finish their work. The participants stressed the importance of the role of the United Nations and international legitimacy and stressed the need to avoid double standards.

On the 1st of this month, a regular Arab summit was held in Sharm el-Sheikh. It acted as an emergency session when it adopted its first decision expressing a categorical opposition to a strike against Iraq. The summit stressed the need to give the inspectors sufficient time to fulfill their mandate and underlined the Security Council responsibility in protecting the Iraqi people and preserving Iraq's independence, unity and territorial integrity.

The Arab leaders expressed in the summit their solidarity with the Iraqi people, called for a lifting of the sanctions, and established a follow-up committee that I referred to earlier in my statement that included Bahrain, Lebanon, Tunisia, Syria, Egypt and the secretary general of the League of Arab States. The committee is entrusted with transmitting the Arab point of view to the five permanent members of the Security Council and the secretary general of the United Nations, as well as to Baghdad should the situation warrant.

The Arab summit was immediately followed by an Islamic summit in Doha in which Islamic countries confirmed the decision of the Arab summit.

In this context, we, Arabs and Muslims, must recall with appreciation the repeated appeals of the leaders of churches all over the world to pursue peace and to prevent war. These appeals were crowned by a message that the emissary of the Holy See carried to the American president a couple of days ago, in which he considered clearly that war against Iraq is illegitimate and unjust.

As for Iraq, Iraq has cooperated actively, as we were informed by Mr. Blix a while ago. It was also positive, as was explained by Mr. ElBaradei. This cooperation was on process and substantiate. The destruction of the missiles, which is currently under way in Iraq, is a tangible and material evidence of this cooperation that can neither be considered deceptive nor could it be dismissed as insignificant.

And while inspectors are achieving tangible progress in instrumenting Security Council Resolution 1441, we believe that any individual or any state can ask, "Why insist on adopting a new resolution allowing the use of military force as if war were the best and not the worst option?"

In the light of the aforementioned, one cannot but wonder what logic can explain the cooperation of the United States with Israel in developing sophisticated missiles that cost millions of dollars of American taxpayers when the United States deny such an opportunity to Arab countries that need them to defend themselves? What logic allows Israel to possess all kinds of weapons of mass destruction although it continues to occupy the territories of its neighbors and to threaten them, which is something that runs counter to all bodies of international law. And President Bashar al-Asad said, and here I quote, "They fear Iraq on our behalf, but not Israel?"

Then given the Security Council Resolution 1441 does not set a time limit for the inspectors work, what then could be the background of the arguments that the time is up and that Iraq has only days left to comply?

It is truly ironic and it is, kind of, naive to claim that war against Iraq will disclose the undeclared WMDs in Iraq, while inspectors will not be able to find the weapons with all the assurances and the facilities given to them. Contrary to the wisdom that says backing away from a wrong position is a virtue, some believe that the buildup of forces is by itself sufficient to justify war against Iraq and destroy it, because it is incomprehensible and no one who is realistic will accept that these forces would go back to their barracks empty-handed. If this is the case, are we simply facing a just cause or simply an act of robbery, no more or less?

Regardless of the accuracy of arguments advanced internationally on the possible objectives of the American military campaign, whether to control the oil of Iraq or to change the map of the Middle East, the Arabs in particular and the international community in general are very apprehensive.

We are gravely concerned over the possible slaughter of the Palestinian people, the demolition of their homes and their forced transfer when war against Iraq is in full swing. Our apprehensions are well-founded, given the developments in the occupied territories since September 11, 2001. And the Security Council must take this into account as soon as we are closer to the day...

BLITZER: We're going to break away from the foreign minister of Syria, Farouk al-Shara (ph), to go outside the U.N. Security Council. SIr Jeremy Greenstock, the British ambassador, speaking about a proposal, perhaps, to come up with a new U.N. Security Council resolution.

QUESTION: ... blindly obvious?

GREENSTOCK: That is where it becomes interesting, as to who just wants endless delay and who wants to take the responsibility of the Security Council that has passed 1441 unanimously, has said certain things must be done fully, unconditionally, immediately and actively. And it's not happening. It's a question of living up to the language of 1441, not making a judgment about whether a glass is half full or half empty. The glass has to be full in terms of cooperation. Thank you very much.

QUESTION: Do you feel a date within March, though, will satisfy the problem which seems to be that a few weeks will not be enough to bring many members on board?

GREENSTOCK: A few extra weeks won't be enough with inspectors being deceived as they are now. A few months will not be enough. Iraq can cope with that.

We're not going to go on for further years of inactivity by the council to compile complete disarmament, when the facts about non- cooperation are as clear as they are.

Thank you.

BLITZER: The British ambassador to the United Nations, Sir Jeremy Greenstock with, once again, a very tough line suggesting that the British and U.S. governments are not going to wait much longer.

A formal proposal we expect from the British government to be announced when Jack Straw, the British foreign secretary, addresses the U.N. Security Council.

That is coming up. In the meantime, let's go back to Farouk al Shara (ph) the foreign minister of Syria -- actually. Farouk al Shara (ph) has wrapped up. It's the Mexican foreign minister speaking right now.

LUIS ERNESTO DE RUEZ, MEXICAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): ... still ongoing. We are still sitting around this table trying to figure out a common course of action.

The Security Council, without a doubt, is the ideal forum to explore all the options, and to agree on whichever is the most convenient for the international community.

The search for a consensus that expresses the collective will of the states is what brings us together, and what we hope to achieve.

Mexico is keen on surpassing the differences that are impeding a common agreement in order to act together in the case of Iraq, so that we can discuss them and solve them here, in this home of the community of nations par excellence.

We truly believe that while advancing in our agreements, we shall be able to revitalize the credibility and solvency of the authority of the Security Council, the validity and the spirit of the San Francisco Charter, and the strength of the United Nations.

Let's not lose this opportunity. We have taken note of the situation of the inspections of UNMOVIC and IAEA in Iraq. Once again, we extend our full appreciation to the effort displayed by the inspectors, both in situ and in this presentation of their report to the Security Council. Yet, Mexico wants to express its distress with regard to the situation in Iraq and their lack of active, immediate, and effective cooperation by the regime that rules that country. Amongst us, there has been a clear consensus on the objectives to be achieved. Yet, the last developments and declarations on the Iraqi issue make it clear that there are different visions towards the disarmament of that country.

Particularly, we are very distressed by the fact that affinities and common values built with great effort during several decades are being eroded. We are facing very complex decisions for the future of the world. That is why we are worried by the drifting apart of some positions among the members of this council which are the source of recommendations which until recent months we believed eliminated.

In case that this polarization is deepened further, it may gravely affect the way in which we handle such an important issue as disarmament in the world. This is a defining moment, and this is why Mexico wants to stress the importance of searching for the widest possible consensus among the members of the Security Council. In its unity lies the strength of a collective security system, such as the United Nations.

The United Nations' charter is the instrument that must give form and legitimacy to all our understandings and all our collective action. Mexico has shared with the rest of the members of the council its belief that it is necessary and possible to reconcile differences.

In the last few days, Mexico has actively explored different ways to agree with its colleagues. Along with other members, we have approached the council members most directly involved in the Iraqi issue in order to facilitate an understanding, and to avoid drifting into extreme positions.

International public opinion demands that we act united and with prudence, even if it is not a requirement that uniformity be present in the international organism, as is fitting in a plural and diverse world, at least it should be a requisite to promote, as far as possible, the agreements on the forum to contend with the most outstanding world issues in order to guarantee an effective and durable international security.

Mexico is alarmed by the damage caused by the Iraqi issue in the international arena, the uncertainty on the financial markets, and the way in which the framework for investments, the basis for the growth and development of peoples is being affected.

Peace among nations is intimately connected and related to such development. Throughout its history of foreign policy, Mexico has always tried to propose initiatives that will help to consolidate multilateral fora -- as well as achieve neutral understanding among peoples in strict observance of international law.

This is the most effective way to guarantee durable solutions that will be effective in resolution of conflict. Mexico wishes to widen the range of formulas to achieve an effective disarmament in Iraq, to open the space to more options and ideas that will preserve the diplomatic manner in the issue of disarmament. Through ways that revitalize the values of peace, Mexico is struggling for the adoption of more effective ways of exerting pressure in order to enforce the cooperation that we all demand from Iraq.

Such active cooperation is indispensable in order to determine with absolute certainty the whereabouts of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and, as appropriate, to ensure their destruction.

Iraq must react more quickly, and it is too bad that it reacts to political pressure and the real threat of the use of force, and not to the continuous demands of the international community. It is even more regrettable that the cooperation it provides is still limited and in small doses. From what we have heard, Iraqi cooperation has been unwilling in respect to the demands of the international community, and that is why Mexico considers that we can be firm through peaceful means.

Mexico requests the Iraqi government once again to radically change its attitude and to immediately carry out clear and unambiguous actions that will prove that it has chosen the way of disarmament and thus a peaceful solution to the crisis.

Our foreign policy is the outcome of principles and convictions acquired through a long and rich historical experience. We have very true and valid reasons to defend multilateralism, to see that the decisions adopted in order to disarm Iraq should not be unilateral, but should unambiguously fall within international law. In the preservation of peace we have vested our collective interests.

That is how we understand our responsibility as members of the Security Council of the United Nations. Mexico is convinced that we have to explore all possible ways, and take advantage of every single opportunity to solve this issue in a peaceful way. This is why Mexico insists on the importance of working towards a consensus position as to future action to be taken by the Security Council with regard to Iraq.

Mexico calls upon all the members to work with more creativity on this difficult issue. We shall act with the conviction that such creativity will benefit this council, will confirm its validity as an effective forum in which humanity can fully deposit its trust.

Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I thank the distinguished minister for foreign affairs of Mexico for his statement and for his kind words concerning my country.

I now call upon the distinguished Secretary of State of the United States of America, his excellency, Mr. Colin Powell.

You have the floor, sir.

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: Thank you very much, Mr. President and Mr. Secretary General, distinguished colleagues. Mr. President, let me join my colleagues in congratulating you on the assumption of the presidency. And I know you will lead us in these difficult days with great distinction.

And let me also express to you, my German colleagues, my thanks and admiration for the stewardship that they provided to the council over the past month.

We meet today, it seems to me, with one question and one very, very important question before us: Has the Iraqi regime made the fundamental, strategic and political decision to comply with the United Nations Security Council resolutions and to rid itself of all of its weapons of mass destruction, all of the infrastructure for the development of weapons of mass destruction?

It's a question of intent on the part of the Iraqi leadership. The answer to that question does not come from how many inspectors are present or how much more time should be given or how much more effort should be put into the inspection process. It's not a question of how many unanswered clusters of questions are there, or are there more benchmarks that are needed, or are there enough unresolved issues that have been put forward to be examined and analyzed and conclusions reached about.

The answer depends entirely on whether Iraq has made the choice to actively cooperate in every possible way, on every possible manner in the immediate and complete disarmament of itself of its prohibited weapons. That's what 1441 calls for.

I would like to thank Dr. Blix and Dr. ElBaradei for their reports this morning which shed more light on this difficult question. I listened to them very carefully. I listened to them very, very carefully to see if I was hearing that finally Iraq had reached that point where it understood that the will of the international community must now be obeyed.

I was pleased to hear from both of these distinguished gentlemen that there has been continuing progress on process, and even some new activity with respect to substance. But I was sorry to learn that all of this still is coming in a grudging manner, that Iraq is still refusing to offer what was called for by 1441: immediate, active and unconditional cooperation. Not later, immediate; not passive, active; not conditional, unconditional in every respect.

Unfortunately, in my judgment, despite some of the progress that has been mentioned, I still find what I have heard this morning a catalog still of noncooperation.

If Iraq genuinely wanted to disarm, we would not have to be worrying about setting up means of looking for mobile biological units or any units of that kind. They would be presented to us. We would not need an extensive program to search for and look for underground facilities that we know exist. The very fact that we must make these requests seems to me to show that Iraq is still not cooperating.

The inspectors should not have to look under every rock, go to every crossroad, peer into every cave for evidence, for proof. And we must not allow Iraq to shift the burden of proof onto the inspectors. Nor can we return to the failed bargain of Resolution 1284, which offered partial relief for partial disclosure. 1441 requires full and immediate compliance, and we must hold Iraq to its terms.

We also heard this morning of an acceleration of Iraqi initiatives. I don't know if we should call these things initiatives. Whatever they are, Iraq's small steps are certainly not initiatives. They are not something that came forward willingly, freely from the Iraqis. They have been pulled out or have been pressed out by the possibility of military force, by the political will of the Security Council. They have been taken, these initiatives, if that's what some would choose to call them, only grudgingly, rarely unconditionally, and primarily under the threat of force.

We are told that these actions do not constitute immediate cooperation. But that's exactly what is demanded by 1441. And even then, progress is often more apparent than real.

And I am pleased, very pleased that some Al-Samoud II missiles are now being broken up, although perpahs the process of breaking them up has now paused for a moment.

And I know these are not toothpicks, but real missiles, but the problem was we don't know how many missiles there are, how many toothpicks there are. We don't know whether or not the infrastructure to make more has been identified and broken up. And we have evidence that shows that the infrastructure to make more missiles continues to remain within Iraq and has not yet been identified and destroyed.

There is still much more to do. And frankly, it will not be possible to do that which we need to do unless we get the full and immediate kind of cooperation that 1441 and all previous resolutions demanded.

The intent of the Iraqi regime to keep from turning over all of its weapons of mass destruction, seems to me, has not changed and not to cooperate with the international community in the manner intended by 1441.

If Iraq had made that strategic decision to disarm, cooperation would be voluntary, even enthusiastic, not coerced, not pressured. And that is a lesson we learned from South Africa and the Ukraine, where officials did everything possible to ensure complete cooperation with inspectors.

I also listened to Dr. ElBaradei's report with great interest. As we all know, in 1991 the IAEA was just days away from determining that Iraq did not have a nuclear program. We soon found out otherwise.

IAEA is now reaching a similar conclusion, but we have to be very cautious. We have to make sure that we do keep the books open, as Dr. ElBaradei said he would. There is dispute about some of these issues and about some of these specific items.

Dr. ElBaradei talked about the aluminum tubes that Iraq has tried to acquire over the years. But we also know that notwithstanding the report today, that there is new information that is available to us and I believe available to the IAEA about a European country where Iraq was found shopping for these kinds of tubes.

And that country has provided information to us, to IAEA that the material properties and manufacturing tolerances required by Iraq are more exact by a factor of 50 percent or more than those usually specified for rocket motor casings. Its experts concluded that the tolerances and specifications Iraq was seeking cannot be justified for unguided rockets. And I'm very pleased that we will keep this issue open.

I also welcome the compilation of outstanding issues that Dr. Blix and his staff have provided to some of us and will make available to all of us. UNMOVIC put together a solid piece of research that adds up, when one reads the entire 167 pages, adds up, fact by chilling fact, to a damning record of 12 years of lies, deception and failure to come clean on the part of Iraq.

This document is in fact a catalog of 12 years of abject failure, not by the inspectors, but by Iraq. We have looked carefully at the draft given to the UNMOVIC commissioners and which will be available more widely after this meeting, and we found nearly 30 instances where Iraq refused to provide credible evidence substantiating its claims. We have counted 17 examples when the previous inspectors actually uncovered evidence contradicting Iraqi claims. We see instance after instance of Iraq lying to the previous inspectors and planting false evidence, activities which we believe are still ongoing.

As you read this document, you can see page after page of how Iraq has obstructed the inspectors at nearly every turn over the years. Just by way of example, we've talked about the R-400 (ph) bombs. The report says that during the period 1992, Iraq changed its declaration on the quantity it had produced, changed the declaration several times.

In 1992, it declared it had produced a total of 1,200 of these bombs. With the admission, finally, after it was pulled out of them, of an offensive biological warfare program in 1995, this number was subsequently changed to a total of 1,550 such bombs.

Given the lack of specific information from Iraq, UNSCOM could not calculate the total number of R-400 (ph) bombs that Iraq had produced for its programs.

And so, this report says it is proved impossible to verify the production and destruction details of R-400 (ph) bombs. UNMOVIC cannot discount the possibility that some CW and BW fields R- 400 (ph) bombs remain in Iraq.

In this document, UNMOVIC says actions that Iraq could take to help resolve this question: present any remaining R-400 (ph) bombs and all relevant molds; provide more supporting documentation on production; inventory relating to the R-400 and R-400A (ph) bombs it manufactured; provide further documentation explaining the coding system that it had used with the R-400-type (ph) bombs, including the coding assigned to specific CBW agents; provide credible evidence that the R-400 (ph) bomb production line stopped after September 1990.

This is just one example of the kinds of documentation you will all be seeing.

The question that leaps out at you is that these are issues, these actions that Iraq is being asked to take, they could have taken many times over the preceding 12 years. We're not talking about immediately. We are talking about, why hasn't it been done over the last 12 years?

And how can we rely on assurances now in the presence of this solid record of lying and deceit over the years? These questions could easily have been cleared up in Iraq's December 7 declaration.

There should not be these kinds of outstanding issues to work on, but there are. And we will all examine them carefully.

The point is that this document conclusively shows that Iraq had and still has the capability to manufacture these kinds of weapons; that Iraq had and still has the capability to manufacture, not only chemical, but biological weapons; and that Iraq had and still has literally tens of thousands of delivery systems, including increasingly capable and dangerous unmanned aerial vehicles.

These are not new questions being presented for our consideration. These are old questions that have not been resolved and could have been resolved in December with the declaration, or it could have been fully resolved over the last four months if Iraq had come forward and do what 1441 wanted it to do.

In his report this morning, Dr. Blix remarked on the paucity of information on Iraq's programs since 1998. We've all been working hard to fill that gap. But Iraq is the one who could fill that gap if it was truly complying with 1441. It would be inundating the inspectors with new information, not holding it back begrudgingly.

The draft we reviewed today in preparation for this meeting was 167 pages long. If Iraq were genuinely committed to disarmament, Dr. Blix's document would not be 167 pages of issues and questions, it would be thousands upon thousands of pages of answers about anthrax, about VX, about sarin, about unmanned aerial vehicles. It would set out in detail all of Iraq's prohibited programs. Then and only then could the inspectors really do the credible job they need to do of verification, destruction and monitoring.

We've been down this road before. March 1998, Saddam Hussein was also faced with the threat of military action. He responded with promises -- promises to provide inspectors at that time with immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access.

The then chief inspector reported to this council a new spirit of cooperation, along with his hope that the inspectors could move very quickly to verify Iraq's disarmament. We know what happened to that hope. There was no progress and disarmament. And nine months later, the inspectors found it necessary to withdraw. I regret that not much has changed. Iraq's current behavior, like the behavior chronicled in Dr. Blix's document, reveals its strategic decision to continue to delay, to deceive, to try to throw us off the trail, make it more difficult, to hope that the will of the international community will be fractured, that we will go off in different directions, that we will get bored with the task, that we will remove the pressure, we will remove the force. And we know what has happened when that has been done in the past.

We know that the Iraqis still are not volunteering information. Then when they do, what they are giving is often partial and misleading. We know that when confronted with facts, the Iraqis still are changing their story to explain those facts, but not enough to give us the truth.

So has the strategic decision been made to disarm Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction by the leadership in Baghdad? I think our judgment has to be clearly not. And this is now the reality we, the council, must deal with.

Security Council membership carries heavy responsibility, responsibility to the community of nations to take the hard decisions on tough issues, such as the one we are facing today. Last November, this council stepped up to it responsibilities. We must not walk away. We must not find ourselves here this coming November with the pressure removed and with Iraq once again marching down the merry path to weapons of mass destruction, threatening the region, threatening the world.

If we fail to meet our responsibilities, the credibility of this council and its ability to deal with all the critical challenges we face will suffer. As we sit here, let us not forget the horrors still going on in Iraq with a spare moment to remember the suffering Iraqi people whose treasure is spent on these kinds of programs and not for their own benefit, people who are being beaten, brutalized and robbed by Saddam and his regime.

Colleagues, now is the time for the council to send a clear message to Saddam that we have not been taken in by his transparent tactics. Nobody wants war, but it is clear that the limited progress we have seen, the process changes we have seen, the slight substantive changes we have seen come from the presence of a large military force, nations who are willing to put their young men and women in harm's way in order to rid the world of these dangerous weapons.

It doesn't come simply from resolutions, it doesn't come simply from inspectors. It comes from the will of this council, the unified political will of this council and the willingness to use force if it comes to that, to make sure that we achieve the disarmament of Iraq.

Now is the time for the council to tell Saddam that the clock has not been stopped by his stratagems and his machinations. We believe that the resolution that has been put forward for action by this council is appropriate. And in the very near future, we should bring it before this council for a vote.

The clock continues to tick, and the consequences of Saddam Hussein continued refusal to disarm will be very, very real.

Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (speaking in foreign language)

(through translator): You have the floor, Mr. Minister.

IGOR IVANOV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): Mr. President, Mr. Secretary General, distinguished colleagues:

The Iraq problem has many aspects to it.

On the one hand, we all agree that we must achieve full and effective disarmament of Iraq in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441.

On the other hand, it is quite clear that the way in which we resolve this problem will determine not just the future of Iraq. In essence, we are now laying the foundations for ensuring peace and security in our time.

Herein lies the special responsibility we have at the moment and the choice which we will have to make.

If we succeed through our joint efforts at resolving the Iraq crisis pursuant to the United Nations Charter, this, of course, will have a positive effect on our efforts at settling other conflicts. And, most importantly, it will become an important step toward a new, just and secure world order.

This is why Russia has consistently and unswervingly been striving to resolve the Iraq problem on the basis of international law and United Nations Security Council resolutions. And today we have, more than ever before, grounds for stating that this is not only the real, but the most reliable way.

The report submitted by Mr. Blix demonstrates that, thanks to our common energetic work, thanks to the pressure which has been brought to bear on Baghdad from all sides, including through a buildup of military presence, we have been able to achieve essential progress in implementation of Resolution 1441.

Let us take a look at the facts. In Iraq, there has been introduced and there is under way an enhanced inspections regime. The international inspectors are being given immediate, unimpeded, unconditional, unrestricted access to any sites. During the course of the inspections, active use is being made of helicopters and aircraft, and this is also for aerial surveillance purposes.

On the whole, the level of cooperation of the Iraqi authorities with the inspectors is thoroughly different from the practice we saw under the previous United Nations Special Commission.

Mr. Blix and Mr. ElBaradei have pointed out repeatedly -- and this includes in their latest reports -- problems in conducting interviews with Iraqi specialists. We agree with the view that the Iraqi leadership must more energetically encourage its citizens to take part in these interviews without minders. Judging from the latest reports, such interviews are gradually beginning to become the norm.

During the process of the inspections, qualitatively new changes have taken place in carrying out concrete tasks. Qualitative changes. I repeat, for the first time in many years in Iraq there is a process of real disarmament under way. Weapons banned by Security Council resolutions are being eliminated. These are the Al-Samoud 2 missiles, which were officially declared by the Iraqi side and are now being destroyed under UNMOVIC's supervision.

These are the discovered 120 millimeter shells which can carry poisonous chemical substances. The Iraqis have transmitted to the inspectors for analysis fragments of more than 100 R-400 aerial bombs. The experts are working on the possibility of analyzing ground soil in areas where the VX gas and anthrax growth media have been destroyed. Baghdad has transmitted to the inspectors some dozens of new documents which are now being analyzed.

I repeat, all of these are facts. And these are true facts which show that the process of the activities of the inspectors is developing.

In principle, we agree with the view of Mr. Blix that if the latest positive steps taken by Baghdad had been undertaken earlier, then the results right now would be more convincing. But it is important that these steps have been taken. And as the leader of UNMOVIC and the leader of IAEA have pointed out, they open up the way to solving remaining problems. I would like to emphasize once again, they open up the way to resolving remaining problems. This is important in principle.

Furthermore, I would like to draw your attention to yet another aspect which Mr. Blix highlighted, and that is a long-term monitoring for the non-production of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. This is yet another important safety machinery which safeguards that Iraq will not produce weapons of mass destruction in future either.

In this connection, the question arises: Is it now reasonable to halt the inspections and in that way eliminate the momentum gained in the process of Iraq's disarmament?

Let us take another look. What is really in the genuine interests of the world community: continuing the albeit difficult but clearly fruitful results of the inspectors work or resorting to force, which inevitably will result in enormous loss of life and is fraught with serious and unpredictable consequences for regional and international stability?

It is our deep conviction that the possibilities for disarming Iraq through political means do exist. And they really exist. And this cannot but be acknowledged.

Now we need not new Security Council resolutions; we have enough of those. We need now active support of the inspectors in carrying out their tasks.

Russia is firmly in favor of continuing and strengthening the inspections activities and making them more focused in nature. This goal would be furthered by the speedy, in the days to come, submission for approval by the United Nations Security Council of an UNMOVIC program of work with the inclusion in it of a list of key remaining disarmament tasks.

Such tasks should be formulated with the utmost clarity and should be realizable. This would enable us objectively to evaluate the level of cooperation of Iraq and, most importantly, to provide an exhaustive answer to all the remaining open questions on banned Iraqi military programs.

Mr. President, distinguished colleagues, of course we all face a difficult choice. Hardly anyone from among us could claim to be in possession of the absolute truth, therefore it is quite natural that during the course of our discussion different points of view be expressed.

But such differences should not lead to a rift among us. We are all standing on the same side of the barricade. We all share common values. And only acting in solidarity can we effectively face up to new global threats and challenges.

We are certain that the United Nations Security Council must emerge from the Iraq crisis not weakened and divided, but united and strong, and Russia will work further toward that goal.

Thank you, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I thank the minister of foreign affairs of Russia for his statement, and for his kind words addressed to me.

I now give the floor to the distinguished minister for foreign affairs of France, his excellency, Mr. Dominique (UNINTELLIGIBLE) de Villepin.

You have the floor, sir.

DOMINIQUE DE VILLEPIN, FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): Thank you, Mr. President, Mr. Secretary General, ladies and gentlemen, ministers, distinguished ambassadors. I would like to begin by telling you how pleased France is and how pleased I am that on this decisive day the presidency of the Security Council is held by Guinea (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

I would like to thank Mr. Blix and Mr. ElBaradei for the presentation they have just given us. Their reports testified to regular progress in the disarmament of Iraq.

And what have the inspectors told us? That for a month Iraq has been actively cooperating with them, that substantial progress has been made in the area of ballistics with the progressive destruction of al-Samoud II missiles and their equipment, that new prospects are opening up with the recent question of several scientists. Significant evidence of real disarmament has now been observed, and that is indeed the key to Resolution 1441.

Therefore, I would like solemnly to address a question to this body, and it's the very same question being asked by people all over the world. Why should we now engage in war with Iraq? And I would also like to ask, why smash the instruments that have just proven their effectiveness? Why choose division when our unity and our resolve are leading Iraq to get rid of its weapons of mass destruction? Why should we wish to proceed by force at any price when we can succeed peacefully?

War is always an acknowledgment of failure. Let us not resign ourselves to the irreparable. Before making our choice, let us weigh the consequences. Let us measure the effects of our decision. And it's clear to all in Iraq, we are resolutely moving toward completely eliminating programs of weapons of mass destruction. The method that we have chosen worked.

The information supply (UNINTELLIGIBLE) has been verified by the inspectors and is leading to the elimination of banned ballistic equipment. We must proceed the same way with all the other programs: with information, verification and destruction. We already have useful information in the biological and chemical domain.

In response to the inspectors' questions, Iraq must give us further information in timely fashion so that we may obtain the most precise knowledge possible about any existing inventories or programs. On the basis of that information, we will destroy all the components that are discovered, as we've done for the missiles, and we'll determine the truth of the matter.

With regard to nuclear weapons, Mr. ElBaradei's statement confirmed that we are approaching the time where the IAEA will be able to certify the dismantlement of Iraq's program.

What conclusions can we draw? That Iraq, according to the very terms used by the inspectors, represents less of a danger to the world than it did in 1991, that we can achieve our objective of effectively disarming that country. Let us keep the pressure on Baghdad.

The adoption of Resolution 1441, the assumption of converging positions by the vast majority of the world's nations, diplomatic action by the Organization of African Unity, the League of Arab States, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the non-aligned movement, all of these common efforts are bearing fruit.

The American and British military presence in the region lends support to our collective resolve. We all recognize the effectiveness of this pressure on the part of the international community, and we must use it to go through with our objective of disarmament through inspections.

As the European Union noted, these inspections cannot continue indefinitely. The pace must therefore be stepped up. That is why France wants to make three proposals today. First, let us ask the inspectors to establish a hierarchy of tasks for disarmament, and, on that basis, to present us, as quickly as possible, with the work program provided for by Resolution 1284. We need to know immediately which priority issues could constitute the key disarmament tasks to be carried out by Iraq.

Secondly, we propose that the inspectors give us a progress report every three weeks. This will make the Iraqi authorities understand that in no case may they interrupt their efforts.

And finally, let us establish a schedule for assessing the implementation of the work program. Resolution 1284 provides for a time frame of 120 days. We are willing to shorten it if the inspectors consider it feasible.

The military agenda must not dictate the calendar of inspections. We agree to timetables and to an accelerated calendar, but we cannot accept an ultimatum as long as the inspectors are reporting cooperation. That would mean war. That would lead the Security Council to relinquish its responsibility.

By imposing a deadline of only a few days, would we merely be seeking a pretext for war? As a permanent member of the Security Council, I will say it again: France will not allow a resolution to pass that authorizes the automatic use of force.

Let us consider the anguish and the expectations of people all over the world, in all our countries, from Cairo to Rio, from Algiers to Pretoria, from Rome to Jakarta. Indeed, the stakes go beyond the fate of Iraq alone.

Let us be clear-sighted. We are defining a method to resolve crisis. We are choosing how to define the world we want our children to live in.

This is true in the case of North Korea, in the case of southern Asia, where we have not yet found the path toward a lasting resolution of disputes. It is true in the case of the Mideast. Can we continue to wait while acts of violence multiply?

These crises have many roots. They are political, religious, economic. Their origins lie deep in the turmoil of history.

There may be some who believe that these problems can be resolved by force, thereby creating a new order. But this is not what France believes. On the contrary, we believe that the use of force can arouse resentment and hatred, fuel a clash of identities and of cultures, something that our generation has a prime responsibility to avoid.

To those who believe that war would be the quickest way of disarming Iraq, I can reply that it will drive wedges and create wounds that will be long in healing. And how many victims will it cause? How many families will grieve?

We do not subscribe to what may be the other objectives of a war. Is it a matter of regime change in Baghdad? No one underestimates the cruelty of this dictatorship or the need to do everything possible to promote human rights. But this is not the objective of Resolution 1441. And force is certainly not the best way of bringing about democracy. Here and elsewhere it would encourage dangerous instability.

Is it a matter of fighting terrorism? War would only increase it and we would then be faced with a new wave of violence.

Let us beware of playing into the hands of those who do what a clash of civilizations or a clash of religions.

Is it finally a matter of recasting the political landscape of the Middle East? In that case, we run the risk of exacerbating tensions in a region already marked by great instability, not to mention that in Iraq itself the large number of communities and religions already represents a danger of a potential breakup.

We all have the same demands: We want more security and more democracy. But there is another logic other than the logic of force. There is another path. There are other solutions.

We understand the profound sense of insecurity with which the American people have been living since the tragedy of September 11th, 2001. The entire world shared the sorrow of New York and of America struck in the heart. And I say this in the name of our friendship for the American people, in the name of our common values: freedom, justice, tolerance.

But there is nothing today to indicate a link between the Iraqi regime and al Qaeda. And will the world be a safer place after a military intervention in Iraq? I want to tell you what my country's conviction is: It will not.

Four months ago we unanimously adopted a system of inspections to eliminate the threat of potential weapons of mass destruction and to guarantee our security. Today we cannot accept without contradicting ourselves a conflict that might well weaken it.

Yes, we also want more democracy in the world, but we can only achieve this objective within the framework of a true global democracy based on respect, sharing, the awareness of a true community of values and a common destiny. And its core is the United Nations.

Let us make no mistake. In the face of multiple and complex threats, there is no single response, but there is a single necessity: We must remain united. Today, we must together invent a new future for the Middle East.

Let us not forget the immense hope created by the efforts of the Madrid conference and the Oslo Agreement. Let us not forget that the Mideast crisis represents our greatest challenge in terms of security and justice.

For us, the Middle East, like Iraq, represents a priority commitment. And this calls for even greater ambition and boldness. We should envision a region transformed through peace; civilizations that, through the courage of reaching out to each other, rediscover their self-confidence and an international prestige equal to their long history and their aspirations.

Mr. President, in a few days, we must solemnly fulfill our responsibility through a vote. We will be facing an essential choice: disarming Iraq through war or through peace. And this crucial choice implies others. It implies the international community's ability to resolve current or future crisis. It implies a vision of the world, a concept of the role of the United Nations.

France therefore believes that to make this choice, to make it in good conscience in this forum of international democracy, before our people and before the world, the heads of state and government must meet again here in New York at the Security Council. This is in everyone's interest.

We must rediscover the fundamental vocation of the United Nations, which is to allow each of its members to assume responsibilities in the face of the Iraqi crisis, but also to seize together the destiny of a world in crisis, and thus to recreate the conditions for our future unity.

Thank you, Mr. President.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I thank the minister for foreign affairs of France for his statement, and for the kind words addressed to my country and to Africa. I now call on the distinguished minister for foreign affairs of China, his excellency, Mr. Tang Jiaxuan.

TANG JIAXUAN, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): Thank you, Mr. President.

First of all, I'd like to congratulate Guinea on its assumption of the presidency of the council for this month.

I'd also like to congratulate the foreign minister of Germany for his outstanding work during his presidency last month.

I'd also like to thank Mr. Blix and Mr. ElBaradei for their briefings and for the tremendous efforts they have made to fulfill the mandate given by the Security Council.

Mr. President, four months ago, in this chamber, the council unanimously adopted Resolution 1441 in the spirit of unity and cooperation. The adoption of that resolution fully manifested the determination of the council to destroy the WMD possessed by Iraq and truly reflected the desire of the international community for a political settlement of the Iraq issue. It is precisely for this reason that the resolution has been widely welcomed and supported by all countries the world over.

Undoubtedly, it is an arduous task for us to ensure the implementation of the relevant council resolutions and the full and comprehensive destruction of Iraq's WMD. However, it is gratifying to note that much progress has been made in the weapons inspections thanks to the unremitting efforts of UNMOVIC and IAEA. Judging from the reports of the two inspection bodies today, Resolution 1441 has been implemented smoothly on the whole with progress made and results achieved.

It is true that there also exists problems and difficulties in the inspection process. This is exactly why it is highly necessary to continue the inspections. We believe that as long as we stick to the road of political settlement, the goal of destroying Iraq's WMD could still be achieved.

Resolution 1441 was a hard-won result. Given the current situation, we need resolve and determination and, more importantly, patience and wisdom. For that purpose, the council needs to maintain its unity and cooperation more than ever so as to preserve it authority. We believe that the council should provide strong support and guidance to the two inspection bodies in their work; let them continue inspections and find out the truth until they complete the mandate of Resolution 1441.

At the same time, we also urge the Iraqi government to take further, effective measures to strengthen its cooperation on substance with inspectors in earnest and to create conditions necessary for a political settlement.

Under the current circumstances, there is no reason to shut the door to peace. Therefore, we are not in favor of a new resolution, particularly one authorizing the use of force.

Mr. President, the Iraqi issue bears on peace and development in the Gulf region and the world at large. With a view to finding a solution to that issue, we must take into full account the shared interests of all nations and the long-term interests of human development. After entering the 21st century, peace and development still remain the major themes of our times.

All countries in the world, faced with the common task of maintaining peace and achieving development and prosperity, desperately need a stable and peaceful international environment.

Among all things in the universe, human beings are of paramount importance and peace is the most precious.

Over the past months, right here in this hall, we have heard many times from many U.N. member states their strong appeals for resolving the Iraqi issue politically. Outside this hall, we have also heard justified cries of peace, not war, from peoples of many countries.

The power of the Security Council derives from all the U.N. member states and from people of all nations. We have no reason to remain indifferent to those strong demands and outcries.

In order to be responsible for history and to safeguard the common interests of all peoples in the world, the Chinese government strongly appeals to the Security Council to take up its responsibility and to do all it can to avoid war and to maintain its efforts for a political settlement.

I thank you, Mr. President.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I thank the minister for foreign affairs of China for his statement, and for the kind words addressed to my country. I now call on the distinguished minister for foreign affairs of Chile, her excellency, Ms. Soledad Alvear (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

You have the floor, madam.

MARIA SOLEDAD ALVEAR, FOREIGN MINISTER OF CHILE (through translator): Mr. President, Mr. Secretary General, Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Ambassadors, I would also like to start by congratulating Guinea, our president this month, a time when momentous decisions are to be taken. And I would also like to congratulate Germany on its brilliant handling of our affairs last month.

Chile is attending this meeting of the council to hear once again the reports of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

We have a positive frame of mind, despite the critical nature of this moment. We are convinced that in this body we must arrive at an agreement as to the way of demanding that Iraq effectively disarm. We are all united by the common will to responsibly apply the principles that the charter imposes on this forum.

And I would like to thank Messrs. Blix and ElBaradei for their presentations on the inspections carried out by UNMOVIC and IAEA. Their report contains a detailed account of the work of inspection and verification carried out in the various areas, and it is a contribution that we value highly in assessing Iraq's degree of compliance with Resolution 1441, our task today.

The two reports enable us to infer that Iraq's attitude of collaboration, even at this late stage in the multilateral process, is insufficient. If we compare it to the categorical language in Resolution 1441 and the feeling of urgency that underlies it, we can only conclude that its collaboration is not full. And this fact deeply preoccupies my country.

The signs of progress in specific areas which have been reported in recent reports, such as the destruction of the Al-Samoud 2 missiles, while they constitute important steps, still do not detract from the general conclusion.

Chile reaffirms the need to achieve immediate, full and effective disarmament of Iraq, and we reiterate our urgent appeal to Iraq to actively and unconditionally cooperate with the inspectors in keeping with the relevant resolutions of the council.

At this stage of our deliberations I would like to restate the guiding principles of our foreign policy on which the position of Chile is based in respect of the Iraqi crisis. Multilateralism is a permanent interest of Chile. Multilateral diplomacy prevails, as has been pointed out here. And this council is the competent body to handle matters of international peace and security.

We would like to reaffirm the central position of the United Nations and the Security Council in this process. Their resolutions must be complied with fully, and such compliance is indispensable to the credibility of the United Nations, and for the decisions of this principle organ to prevail.

We promote a solution in keeping with international law, and with the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter. This is the only source of legitimacy for our collective agreements and decisions. We emphasize the need there is to adopt collective measures to prevent and eliminate threats to peace.

We actively search for every possible way of arriving at a peaceful solution. This is a principle that we have historically upheld and we are determined to continue working to achieve it.

We are facing a critical moment as persons responsible for building an agreement. In recent months, Chile has made every effort to contribute to an agreed decision that would bring about the peaceful disarmament of Iraq. And this is why we appealed to the five permanent members. And on that basis, Chile has endeavored to find a point of convergence among different positions.

To this end, we have advocated the continuation of rigorous inspections and we have said that they should be limited in time. This is in order to meet the sense of urgency that prevails in Resolution 1441. We have also pointed out that the use of force contemplated in Chapter 7 can only be invoked once every other peaceful means of disarming Iraq has been exhausted.

In recent days, we have noted a greater degree of flexibility that has lessened the rigidity formally observed at the beginning of the process in the council, which was characterized by an insufficient readiness to dialogue and reconcile differences and open ways to understand and negotiate with each other.

Chile has insistently advocated in this forum, as well as in its consultation with permanent and elected members of the council, that its conviction is through unity and collective responsibility an agreement can be reached. The statements we have heard lead us to believe that a solution that reconciles the yearning for peace and for disarmament is still possible. We are convinced that this last opportunity for peace passes through strengthening inspections in Iraq with clear deadlines and concrete demands in keeping with the sense of urgency in Resolution 1441.

The Iraqi regime, which has exposed its own people to great suffering, has the political and moral responsibility to achieve total disarmament. Chile would like to restate its aspirations and vocation to peace. The government and people of my country aspire to find any solution with this crisis that would be consonant with that vocation in the context of the United Nations, the organization that we participated in founding in 1945. We are convinced that every single member of this council will do everything he or she can to act and keep with what humanity expects of us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I thank the distinguished minister for her kind words addressed to my country, and I now give the floor to the distinguished minister for foreign affairs of Spain, her excellency, Ms. Ana Palacio.

You have the floor.

ANA PALACIO, SPANISH FOREIGN MINISTER: Mr. President, Mr. Secretary General, distinguished ministers, ambassadors, allow me to start by joining those who have expressed their gratification at seeing Guinea, and with Guinea Africa, presiding over the council at this crucial time for peace and security. On behalf of Spain, I wish you a very successful and effective conduct of our activities.

And I would also like to highlight the excellent work accomplished in a very complex period of time by Germany.

Mr. President, on 14 February, I began my statement by pointing out that, along with millions of citizens of the world, there was one single phrase I had hoped to hear in the inspectors report, and that was that Saddam Hussein was fully, unconditionally and actively complying with Resolution 1441. But I didn't hear it on that day. And I haven't heard it today either.

Gentlemen, today I also have the feeling that we run the risk of not seeing the forest for the trees. The concrete progress achieved by the inspectors in their commendable work, to which I pay tribute on behalf of Spain, and the gestures made by Saddam Hussein are distracting us from the objective defined by the international community 12 years ago, which was the complete disarmament of the Iraqi regime.

Gentlemen, we have been marking time for 12 years. And I have two questions to put to us that I think are fundamental for us all. Are we discharging our obligations as members of the Security Council? And what message are we sending to the world?

Because according to the Charter of the United Nations, the mission of the Security Council is to maintain international peace and security, to identify when they are threatened and to define action that must be adopted in that case.

And I can only say that the threat remains. And Saddam has still not complied with the resolutions of this council. And all of this 12 years after the adoption of Resolution 687 and four months after the adoption of 1441 which, if you remember, was the final opportunity.

So 12 years later, this scenario is still the same as 1991. Twelve years later, the main actor is still the same: Saddam Hussein. Twelve years later, the threat remains the same: his weapons of mass destruction. Twelve years later, his attitude is identical: a profound contempt for international law, and a clear intention to divide us. Twelve years later, his strategy remains the same: to fool us.

So how much longer? How much time does it take to take the strategic decision of fully, actively and unconditionally collaborating? I am afraid that this is a question the reply to which everyone knows, but many prefer to ignore.

Mr. President, instead of sending a clear-cut and cohesive message, this council runs the risk of becoming a media platform to showcase our differences and make our work even harder.

Mr. President, by means of a continuous and systemic misrepresentation of the facts, Saddam is achieving something extraordinarily dangerous. He has managed for many to identify the Security Council, supposed to guarantee international legality, with the role of the aggressor while he looks as the victim. He has also divided the international community, as the Mexican minister said a moment ago. He has also managed to reverse the burden of proof, shifting a responsibility that is his alone onto our shoulders.

Now how have we managed to arrive at a situation in which a dictator who has provoked war, invaded countries, gassed his own population, trampled every possible human right and flouted the law for 12 years is now placing in jeopardy the credibility of the council?

My second question, as I said, is what is our message?

Because it's impossible not to realize that only maximum pressure or credible threat of force has any type of impression on the Iraqi regime. And this is the underlying logic of Resolution 1441 and the presentation of the draft resolution sponsored by the USA, the United Kingdom and Spain, which will soon be introduced to the council.

I welcome and I appreciate the process and progress that has been achieved according to the inspectors, and in particular the destruction of the Al-Samoud missiles. But all of a sudden, as if by magic or is it the 300,000 soldiers in the area, that we find proof of existence of arms of mass destruction that we've been denied hitherto or the existence of missiles that are banned according to international law. These gestures confirm our fears. The weapons do exist. They have not been destroyed. They can be used again.

And gentlemen, as the secretary of state was saying, Mr. Powell, if he was lying before when he was hiding them, why should we now believe what he says when, after revealing their presence, he claims that he has destroyed all those that remain without our being able to note any genuine will to disarm?

What is the message that this council should send? First, that we will not tolerate any more of Saddam's games. He did not comply in 1991. He fooled UNSCOM in '95. He remained inspection-free for almost four years. And now, when Resolution 1441 points out that it's the final opportunity, he is, once again, trying to prevent it from being applied.

This council also has to say that neither through action or failure to act can we encourage any of those who possess weapons of mass destruction and feel that they can violate systematically international law with impunity. The council is very aware that the looming threat is more serious than ever and that it hinges on the intersection of the existence of weapons of mass destruction, their possible use by terrorist groups and the criminal attitude of political leaders who make use of both these weapons and to the terrorists.

This Security Council has to give a clear message that the time has come to stop playing hostage to those in seeking their own ends mistakenly interpret our aspiration to peace as a sign of weakness. The council must make it clear that it has always advocated not containing Iraq, but for Iraq to disarm, to abandon its weapons of mass destruction, in particular chemical and bacteriological weapons. And that this must be done peacefully, for which full Iraqi collaboration is indispensable. And if it is lacking, Iraq alone will be responsible for the consequences.

Finally, what must be made abundantly clear is that, we must take upon ourselves the responsibility to give a response and to solve this situation for the sake of the world.

Mr. President, disarming Iraq is not a matter of more inspectors or more time. This, to paraphrase a French thinker, is merely the strategy of impotence. Because, in terms of nuclear materials and missiles, we can contemplate a possibility of achieving results even if the regime is not willing to disarm, even if it does not proactively collaborate.

But this cannot be said about chemical and bacteriological weapons, and we know that. It is particularly in those areas of disarmament that disarmament can only be achieved if there is a political will on the part of the Iraqi regime. And the inspectors will naturally have to continue for the time that is necessary and with the means that are necessary, but it will have to...

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to briefly cut away from the Spanish foreign minister making her remarks before the Security Council right now.

Up next, Jack Straw, the British foreign secretary.

In the meantime, I want to check in with Christiane Amanpour about something the foreign minister of France had to say about 20 minutes ago when he made it very clear, although he did not use the word veto, that he would not, or France would not allow a resolution to pass that would authorize the use of force.

Let's check in with Christiane for a quick reaction to that -- Christiane.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: ... completely unbelievable...

ZAHN: We're unfortunately having a little problem with that connection. We're going to go back to Ana Palacio, the Spanish foreign minister.

PALACIO: It is those like Saddam Hussein who use chemical weapons. It is those like Saddam Hussein who destroy entire families, towns, nations.

It is not the Security Council who is responsible. We are seeking international peace and security. Because, Mr. President, we all want peace, but we want a peace that is safe, that guarantees that the arms will not be used by Iraq, and that these weapons will not fall in the hands of terrorist groups that could use them to their own ends.

Otherwise, gentlemen, we are harboring false hopes. We are looking for arrangements that will only seriously impair the credibility and effectiveness of this council, and, even worse, will jeopardize the international peace and stability that we all yearn for.

Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Thank you, madam, for your statement and for your kind words addressed to my country and to Africa and also for your encouragement.

I now give the floor to the distinguished secretary of state for foreign and commonwealth affairs of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the right honorable Jack Straw.

You have the floor, sir.

JACK STRAW, BRITISH SECRETARY OF STATE: Mr. President, I'd like to begin by congratulating you on your assumption of the presidency by wishing you well at this very important moment. And also to echo and underline the thanks which you so generously gave to Vice Chancellor Joschka Fischer and Ambassador Gunter Pleuger for the excellent way in which they chaired the Security Council during the month of February.

I would also like to thank Dr. ElBaradei and Dr. Blix for their reports and to place on record my government's appreciation for their work and the work in very difficult circumstances of all the staff of the IAEA and of UNMOVIC.

Mr. President, I've listened with very great care to what my colleague speaking before me have said. We all are agreed that Iraq must be fully disarmed of weapons of mass destruction and that Iraq's failure to cooperated immediately, unconditionally and actively with the inspectors has to be dealt with.

As we negotiated 1441, the evidence was there for all of us to see, that Iraq had been and remained in material breach. And we all 15 members voted to give the Iraqi regime a final opportunity to comply with its obligations.

And the first question therefore for this council is: Has Iraq taken this final opportunity to disarm? And I have been very struck, listen with care to all the speeches. And, of course, people have different points of view. But nobody, not one minister before this council, in my hearing, has said that Iraq is now fully, actively and immediately in compliance with 1441. They have not so far taken this final opportunity.

If anybody in this chamber or outside has any doubt about that conclusion, then I do commend to members this so-called truster's (ph) report, the outstanding issues concerning Iraq's proscribed weapons program, which, as a member of the commission behind UNMOVIC, I've already had the privilege of reading. And I have read, Dr. Blix knows, all 167 pages of that report and every particular. It's a very painstaking piece of work.

I thank Dr. Blix for publishing it. But it's also a chilling read about the failure of Iraq to comply with successive resolutions of this council over each day of the past 12 years. And there's not been active cooperation in the areas which matter. UNMOVIC, because of that, have not been able to resolve any substantive issues, outstanding from 1998.

As we all know, a point to which I shall return shortly, Iraq refused to admit inspectors for three years after Resolution 1284 was passed, only agreeing to them under the threat of enforcement action in an attempt to frustrate 1441. And Iraq has dragged its feet on as many elements of procedural and substantive cooperation as possible.

Can I, Mr. President, just draw attention to just one aspect, which is often overlooked? Dr. Blix referred to the fact that Iraq has recently informed us that, following the adoption of a presidential decree prohibiting private individuals and mixed companies from engaging in work related to weapons of mass destruction, further legislation on this subject is to be enacted.

No one should be taken in by this as a concession. Iraq was ordered -- I have the instruction here from this council on October 2, 1991, to enact legislation which, in conformity with international law, shall do precisely what they are now saying they intend to do.

And what is more, what they have so far done does not cover the operations of the state, only private individuals and mixed companies. So 12 years on, 12 years after the world saw that Iraq had developed under the world's noses weapons of mass destruction and delivery systems, nuclear systems, biological systems, chemical systems, Iraq is still refusing to pass a law saying that such activity by members of state government authorities is illegal.

This is not something for which they needed to search. It's not something for which they needed the assistance of inspectors or ground-penetrating radar. It's something they could and should have done back in October 1991, and not withstanding all the pressure they are still refusing to do.

Now we come on to the issue of interviews. As Dr. Blix and now Dr. ElBaradei have reported, Iraq has done everything possible to prevent unrestricted, unrecorded interviews. There have now been 12 private interviews between UNSCOM and the IAEA, against an UNSCOM list of 3,500 people previously associated with weapons of mass destruction programs.

And we know for a fact that all of these 12 and all prospective interviewees have been threatened and intimidated by the Iraqi regime beforehand and told that their exchanges were being recorded. They weren't being recorded by bugs and tape recorders, the interviewees were told to take into the meetings. They were told that they were going to recorded in any event by bugs placed in the walls of the recording halls.

And I understand that scientists most likely to have the most incriminating evidence have been locked away by the Iraqi security services. There have been no interviews in the safe havens outside Iraq; not one. And the restrictions placed on the interviewees is itself the most incriminating evidence that Saddam has something to hide.

The Al-Samoud 2 episode further confirms Iraq's familiar tactics. Iraq underdeclared the number of missile engines it illegally imported. It declared 131 engines, but imported 380. Iraq also falsely declared that the missile had a maximum range of 150 kilometers, when it was designed to fly -- it was not an accident, it was designed to fly through considerably in excess of that. And we know that Iraq's agreement to the destruction process, necessary as it is, is a calculation that it can satisfy the council with a partial response in one only of the 29 categories of unresolved disarmament questions.

Now I have to say, Mr. President, and with all respect to good colleagues, that it defines experience that to continue inspections with no firm end-date, as I believe has been suggested in the French, German and Russian memorandum, will achieve complete disarmament, unless, as the memorandum acknowledges, Iraq's full and active cooperation is immediately forthcoming.

And the memorandum is not even a formula for containment, given Iraq's proven ability to exploit the existing sanctions regime to continue to develop weapons of mass destruction. We knew nothing about missile engines. We knew nothing about the rest of this, imported under our noses in breach of the sanctions regime, until we passed 1441.

And to find a peaceful solution to our current crisis, Mr. President, the council must not retreat from the demands it set out clearly in 1441.

What we need is an irreversible and strategic decision by Iraq to disarm, a strategic decision by Iraq to yield to the inspectors all of its weapons of mass destruction and all relevant information, which it could and should have provided at any time in the last 12 years; a strategic decision like that taken by South Africa when it decided freely to abandon its secret nuclear program.

Mr. President, I greatly welcome the progress which the inspectors have today reported. My earnest wish and that of my government has all along been to achieve the disarmament of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction if humanly possible by peaceful means. But to achieve that, we have to recognize that the progress which has been reported represents only the tip of a very large iceberg of huge unfinished business required of Iraq.

And just as I welcome the progress which we have heard, I say to the council that there are very serious lessons for us for what is being reported. Let us consider what has changed.

Why has there been this sudden bout of activity when there was no progress at all for weeks before that, where for months and for years before that Saddam Hussein was rearming under our noses?

Now, it isn't our policy which has changed, not international law which has changed. There has been from the beginning the clearest instructions to Saddam to disarm.

Well, what has changed is one thing and one thing only: the pressure on the regime. Dr. Blix said in his opening remarks that what's changed may well be due to strong outside pressure. That's absolutely right.

In his remarks, Dominique de Villepin said that -- and described a lot of diplomatic pressure by the nonaligned movement, by the European Union, by the Arab League and by many others, and I greatly welcome all of that diplomatic pressure. Dominique went on to say: "And the United States and United Kingdom forces lend support to that pressure."

With respect to you, my good friend, I think it's the other way around. I really do.

What has happened? All that pressure was there for every day of 12 years. In Dr. Blix's carefully chosen words, the strong outside pressure is -- and let us be blunt about this -- the presence of over 200,000 United States and United Kingdom young men and young women willing to put their lives on the line for the sake of this body, the United Nations.

Dominique also said: "The choice before us was disarmament by peace or disarmament by war." Dominique, that's a false choice. I wish that it were that easy because we wouldn't be having to have this discussion; we could all put up our hands for disarmament by peace and go home.

The paradox we face is that the only way we are going to achieve disarmament by peace of a rogue regime, which all of us know has been in defiance of this council for the past 12 years, the only way we can achieve the disarmament of their weapons of mass destruction, which this council has said poses a threat to international peace and security, is by backing our diplomacy with the credible threat of force. I wish we lived in a different world where this was not necessary, but sadly we live in that world.

And the choice -- the choice -- Dominique, is not ours as to how this disarmament takes place. The choice is Saddam Hussein's. It's his choice. It's his choice. Were that it were ours because it would be so easy, but sadly it is not. And there is only one possible, sensible conclusion that we can draw: We have to increase the pressure on Saddam Hussein.

We have to put this man to the test.

He's shown this week he doesn't need more time to comply; he can act with astonishing speed when he chooses too. What's more, he knows exactly what has to be done. He knows this because he's the originator of all this -- of the information. The Iraqis don't need a Dr. Hans Blix and all his staff to produce 167 pages of forensic questions. They have the answer book already. Look how fast they acted to produce 13,000 pages of a declaration, albeit much of that was irrelevant.

Mr. President, it may take time to fabricate further falsehoods, but the truth takes only seconds to tell.

And I just want to make this clear, on this issue of automaticity, which again my good friend Dominique raised. He said there's nothing ever been automatic about the threat of force or the use of force. It has always been conditional. It would be utterly irresponsible, and in defiance of our solemn duties to this council for us to walk into a situation where force was used automatically.

And although that's been that canard around that some of us were in the business of using force automatically, the truth is that it's not been use automatically, it should not be used automatically, it will not be used automatically, and nothing to which my government has ever put its name ever suggests that that would be the case.

What we seek is compliance by Saddam Hussein of 1441. And I make this point. We are not suggesting that in a matter of days Dr. Blix and Dr. ElBaradei would be able to complete all their work; they'd be able to verify the disarmament of Iraq. No one's suggesting that.

But what we are suggesting is that it is perfectly possible -- perfectly possible, achievable and necessary for Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi regime to bring themselves into compliance so that instead of us all, either by our words or by our silence as we have today, admitted that Saddam is not in full compliance, that he has not taken the further opportunity and the final opportunity, we can say the reverse, and we can celebrate the achievement of the fine ideals of the United Nations, and one of the central points of the work program of the U.N., that we back if necessary our diplomacy by the credible threat of force.

And we remain, as family members of this United Nations, and as permanent members of this Security Council, committed to exploring every reasonable option for a peaceful outcome and every prospect of a council consensus.

And in the light of that, and in the light of what I have said, I shall tell the council that I'm asking on behalf of the co-sponsors of our draft resolution, the kingdom of Spain, the government of the United States and the government of the United Kingdom -- I'm asking the secretariat to circulate an amendment which we are tabling, which will specify a further period beyond the adoption of a resolution for Iraq to take the final opportunity to disarm and to bring themselves into compliance.

But Mr. President, the council must send Iraq the clear message that we will resolve this crisis on the United Nations terms, the terms which the council established four months ago when we unanimously adopted Resolution 1441.

Thank you very much indeed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I thank you, Mr. Secretary of State, for your statement and for your wishes.

I now give the floor to the distinguished deputy minister for foreign affairs of Angola, his excellency, Mr. George Chikoti.

You have the floor, Mr. Deputy Minister.

GEORGE CHIKOTI, DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER OF ANGOLA (through translator): Mr. President, may I commend you on your election as chairman of this council for the month of March. And may I thank Germany for the brilliant presidency during the month of February.

Mr. President, I join the speakers before me in thanking and expressing my appreciation on behalf of the government of Angola, the chief weapons inspectors, Dr. Blix, and to the director general of the IAEA, Dr. ElBaradei, for their work, competence and professionalism as expressed in the reports presented to the council this morning.

Mr. President, today we are putting yet another brick in the construction of a world freed from threats to international peace and security. Millions around the world are carefully following these proceedings, placing their trust, faith and confidence in the Security Council's ability to exercise prudence and justice in the fulfillment of its mandate.

Through Resolution 1441 of 2002 and all other relevant resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, unanimously recognize Iraq's noncompliance with its resolution and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Furthermore, this and other resolutions repeatedly warned Iraq that continued violations of its obligations could result in serious consequences.

Once again, today's report testifies to some measures undertaken by Iraq to comply with Resolution 1441. We welcome this development. Such is the case with the destruction of the Al-Samoud missiles and others to provide credible and verifiable information on biological and chemical agents.

However, Iraq's government cooperation with the process remains relatively insufficient. In my delegation's view, this posture by the Iraqi authorities is in no way assisting us in our mission and the discharge of our mandate. Iraqi cooperation is indeed an essential element. We should recognize that Iraq made some progress to increase cooperation with the inspectors. This has normally occurred when associated with specific benchmarks and dates signaling the makings of a model for strengthening the scope and intrusiveness of inspection.

Such endeavor appears to be under the present circumstances the most suitable way to maintain the unity of the Security Council to uphold course that can lead...

ZAHN: We are going to briefly dip out of the Angolan deputy foreign minister, who is considered one of the undecided six on the second resolution, to listen to France's foreign minister, who made it very clear how he would feel about a resolution authorizing the use of force. He said France will not allow that to happen. Let's listen in to more.

VILLEPIN: ... they have confirmed what they've said during the meeting -- the last meeting of the 14 of January, that the inspections do work. And they have said that active cooperation has begun in the last months by Iraq.

We think it is a very important assessment, because it is in line with the Resolution 1441. We think also that we all should keep the pressure on Iraq. And that's why we made several proposals in order for the inspectors to give us very clearly what are the key tasks we are waiting for Iraq to have a clear timetable on the part of Iraq. And also to have reports every three weeks, which is an important element of pressure to the Iraqi regime.

We said also that we were ready, in line with Resolution 1284, with reviews that the program, the schedule could be 120 days, that we were ready to accelerate the facts because we think we need to have results fast.

We think the timetable should not be the timetable of war. That's why we've said very clearly that we want, and I think it is the position of a vast majority in the Security Council, we think that we should give all the possibilities to the council to work to active disarmament of Iraq.

We reaffirmed what we have said in Paris with the Germans, with the Russians, supported by the Chinese, that we still can obtain peaceful disarmament of Iraq. And in the name of France, I said also due to the very important stakes that we are facing today, the Iraqi crisis but not only we have to decide how we want the world to be ruled, how do we want a different crisis of the world to be solved.

That's why I asked to have a meeting of the Security Council at the level of the head of states and governments in order for every of our countries to take full responsibility. It is important at this very moment for our head of states and governments to try to seek and maintain the unity of international community. And we do believe that, whatever happens, the United Nations do have a key role in maintaining the stability of the world, a key role in looking for peaceful solutions to crises. QUESTION: George Bush and Tony Blair have said that even if you or Russia vetoes they're going to war. Is there anything else France could do to stop this from going forward?

VILLEPIN: We've said very clearly, and I said it this morning, we think that a very high level head of state and government meetings in the Security Council can be the place where all together we try really to give peace a chance.

When the inspectors are telling us that active cooperation is seen on the ground, how can we at the same time say that nothing's happened and that we should prepare to war? There is a strong contradiction, and we don't accept this contradiction.

That's why we've said very clearly, we said it in Paris with our Russian friend and our permanent neighbors, we won't accept this new resolution. I heard very closely my British colleague expressing the new amendment they have for the resolution. And we said that we cannot accept any ultimatum, any automatic use of force. They are giving the deadline of the 17th of March, which is 10 days. We don't think that we go to war on timetable.

QUESTION: You made this strong link in your speech between the situation in the Middle East and the Iraq situation. Did you mean by that that it should be brought into the Security Council in the same level with foreign ministers and heads of states or whatever? Or are we talking about the road map which it deliberately bypasses the Security Council on that?

VILLEPIN: Let me say very clearly, there is no one minister in the Security Council that won't say that we are all very anxious, very preoccupied by the situation in the Middle East. Of course there is links. Of course we have to face the feeling of insecurity, the feeling of injustice today in the Middle East, gives much more fragility to this very region. The use of force can create such a situation that might be very, very difficult to deal with.

And it is a preoccupation for our council. It is a preoccupation for the Security Council. And it is a concern for each of our governments. It is a concern for the Security Council. It is a concern for the United Nations. And we cannot face the situation without doing anything.

That's why we say that it is part of our responsibility. We are not in a situation where we can believe that Iraq is the only preoccupation of the world, that Iraq -- if we solve Iraq militarily everything is going to be solved. No, we have terrorism preoccupation. We have proliferation preoccupation. We have regional crisis preoccupation. All this creates a dangerous world. We must face the world like it is.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) give an example of the arguments on the Security Council, Minister? What could a meeting of heads of government achieve, in terms of bridging those gaps, that you and your fellow foreign ministers have failed to achieve in the days and weeks that have gone before? VILLEPIN: If we are going to work on a timetable of the international community, it must be a reasonable timetable. When you have active cooperation on the part of Iraq, as the inspectors said, you don't talk about days. Mr. Blix said not a year, not years, not weeks, but months. We should stick to what we decided.

We said that we were going through the Resolution 1441 to choose referees. Hans Blix and ElBaradei are the referee on the ground. They know the situation.

We have a rule, which is 1441. We should stick to what we have decided. It is absolutely important.

So if we decide to have a schedule to accelerate the schedule, it's fine with us. We are ready to work on that.

But it all cases, what would do a meeting of head of state and governments? Something very important: They will and they will have to say that the key element of stability, the key element of legitimacy, the key element of efficiency of the world community are the United Nations.

This is basic for the security of the world, for the security of each country. Because it gives us the framework in order to act. And we believe that one country can win war in Iraq, but not a country alone can give peace; for that you need the legitimacy of the United Nations.

QUESTION: What do you think of Secretary Straw's passionate presentation? What was your visceral reaction to it?

And when you say that France will not authorize the use of force, does that mean that you will abstain -- they're going to call for a vote early next week -- or are you willing to use your veto?

VILLEPIN: I have a lot of respect for Jack Straw and he's a friend. So I respect what he said and I believe that he believed what he said. But I'm forced to say that behind this presentation there is the idea of an ultimatum: 17 of March. This is the logic of war.

We don't accept this logic. Why? Because the inspectors are saying that they have active cooperative on the part of Iraq. You don't go to war because of a timetable.

You're asked me in the second part of the question, our position. I think it is very clear. We've said that as a permanent member of the Security Council -- and we said that in Paris with the Russians -- we said that we will take full responsibility that we will not accept a resolution that will lead to war. I think you have the answer.

QUESTION: What will France do if the United States attacks Iraq without a resolution from the Security Council or without warning? What will the position...

ZAHN: While the foreign minister of France would not directly answer the question as to whether France would ultimately veto the second resolution, that we've come to understand might carry an amendment that would actually impose a March 17th deadline for Saddam Hussein to fully disarm, he basically told reporters "I think you have your answer." And went on to passionately say, I will say it again, that France will not allow a resolution to pass that authorizes the use of force.

Now, the French foreign minister went on to say he believes that we have seen active cooperation from Iraq in the last past month. That completely contradicts what we heard from the British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, when he posed the question, has Iraq taken this final opportunity to disarm? And he said, in all the presentations he had heard today at the Security Council, after Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei spoke, that no one said we had actually -- or in his words "actually seen Iraq comply with 1441."

Now, Richard Roth has been working the side of the story that really is quite fascinating. This is news of this amendment that Jack Straw just proposed. He is circulating a draft resolution that would give Iraq until March 17th to disarm. We've heard what the foreign secretary of France had to say about that, basically no way.

Richard, I know you've had a chance to take a peek at this amendment. And one last thing before I let you tell us what you have learned, make the point that Jack Straw said in his examination of the 167-page Hans Blix report, which he called "a chilling read of Iraq's failure to comply." He felt that there should be serious consequences.

Richard, what have you learned about this amendment he is sponsoring?

RICHARD ROTH, CNN SR. U.N. CORRESPONDENT: Paula, we've obtained a copy of the latest resolution, which includes the British amendment, and, if I can read the key, new essential part it does say, in effect, that March 17th would be deadline day. If says that under the resolution, it decides Iraq will have failed to take the final opportunity afforded by resolution 1441, the resolution passed November 8 unanimously by everyone on the council, unless on or before March 17, 2003, the council concludes Iraq has demonstrated full, unconditional, immediate cooperation in accordance with its obligations, under that resolution and previous ones, and there's more jargon after that.

Earlier in the resolution, the new amendment calls on Iraq immediately to take the decisions necessary in the interests of its people and the region, and it recalls the key disarmament resolutions of the past.

So under this -- if passed -- Iraq would have until March 17 to comply. And they're debating inside the council whether Iraq would be given new, strict disarmament tasks. That still seems to be a little unclear. But the British amendment is now on paper. They'll talk about it in several hours after this public debate is over, and it is almost an unprecedented -- in recent times certainly -- debate inside the council chamber, with first names being used, with the British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw saying "Dominique" referring to Dominique De Villepin, the French foreign minister. And this time, it was the British delegate who got some applause from the council chamber. The audience watching. Last time, it was Dominique, Dominique De Villepin, the French foreign minister. It was Straw who spoke this time after Dominique De Villepin.

Colin Powell, the secretary of state, sounded more frustrated, exasperated, can't believe the other council members, by and large, do not want to give Saddam Hussein a tight deadline, to not let the inspection process keep going ad infinitum. The French foreign minister, though, Paula, said France would not accept this resolution. France says any ultimatum would be, in effect, a call for war, which his country and Germany and Russia, as he alluded to in his remarks, would be still strongly opposed to -- Paula.

ZAHN: But, Richard, we still need to point out, he would not use the word "veto," the "v" word, even though the reporter pressed him to characterize what kind of action France would take. As you read into what he said, is that as close as you can get to saying France will veto this, without saying so?

ROTH: I think that it's still too soon to say. "Veto" certainly a four-letter word for the French, Chinese, Germans and Russians. Nobody wants to do it alone.

But he did say earlier there to the press, we want a reasonable amount of time given for Iraq. Hans Blix said we would need months for to complete the work. If there's going to be agreement, they'll have to find it on the timetable. As to how long, the U.S. and British governments will not go for months.

ZAHN: One last question to you, are you able to read the tea leaves of some of the foreign ministers we've heard to -- from today, of the undecided six and how they might ultimately vote on a second resolution?

ROTH: I don't think they tipped their hands either way. There was a strong defense of the U.S. and U.K. from one of the resolution cosponsors, Spain. The Spanish foreign minister saying that -- can't believe that Saddam Hussein will be given more time, because the delegate saying he'll just be able to slip away without more pressure. And, again, France, Russia, and China, are saying war is not an option at this time, and it shouldn't be, and it would be disastrous to the region, even if it's the last resort.

ZAHN: Richard Roth, we'll come back to you in a little bit, if you' wouldn't mind standing by.

We're going to check in with Christiane Amanpour, who has reaction from London now to some of what we've just heard the foreign minister of France say.

Hello again, Christiane.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Paula, this is intense, high drama. In the Security Council, as Richard pointed out, two foreign ministers going sort of name to name, Jack Straw showing' passion he's never shown in public before. And it really does show that here, potentially ten days before a war can be launched, the leaders of the world are disunited on exactly how to proceed with the disarmament of Saddam Hussein and Iraq.

You can see, from Jack Straw's incredibly impassioned presentation, that this is desperate now for Tony Blair of England. He needs that second resolution. It's not clear at all right now whether he'll get it.

And I will go out and a limb and say that Dominique De Villepin said, and you pointed it out, Paula, "You have your answer. We will not allow a resolution to pass that authorizes the use of force."

Now, in public, maybe they're saying one thing; maybe in private, they're saying something else. But in public, that was the strongest signal that he said again and again, we will not accept a deadline, and we reported this early this morning, sources telling us, they will not, they say, accept any kind of ultimatum or deadline, because they say that's a pretext for war. Again, he said, we will not allow the military timetable to determine the disarmament of Iraq. We've seen that he's said the French believe those inspections are working. We've seen what the British and United States are saying.

But of course, high-stakes poker continue. The question, still, will the United States and Britain go to war without international legitimacy, without a second U.N. resolution? Tony Blair has said all along that he believes he'll get a second resolution, and that he's always wanted to go with one.

Now, in the last couple of days, he's beginning to face potential reality, and saying that he'll still go, even with a veto or two, and certainly, all the countries there keeping to their fixed, hard positions. It was a very tense session and we're going to see what happened next -- Paula.

ZAHN: Christiane, I know you've been reading the public opinion polls there, and I think you suggested earlier today the majority of the British public would support the prime minister if they believe there had been a smoke gun that was exposed today, or if they felt the U.N. ultimately, the Security Council, was going to go along with a potential military action. I'm just curious whether you think this amendment we've just heard Jack Straw propose with this ultimatum, with the deadline, gives him, his boss, Tony Blair, political cover at home?

AMANPOUR: Well, only if they get that second resolution. Some people are saying, it's not really a deadline that's going to bring over the waverers. You know, one thing that may be gaining some traction, and we mentioned it briefly, and Richard mentioned in there, the idea of benchmarks and targets. Certainly, some of the wavering states, if you like, Chile certainly has said that it wants benchmarks, specific targets. And a U.K. official told me today that one of the things potentially being discussed, it wasn't mentioned in the draft resolution that Richard talked about. He didn't mention that. But one of the things that may be being discussed behind closed doors are specific tasks that Saddam Hussein's regime will have to comply with and do by the time of this potential 10-day deadline. And even that, apparently is up for negotiation, the length of that deadline.

But of course you also heard Jack Straw saying that deadlines are -- you know, we're going to put a deadline, but we don't expect full -- you know, for them to bring all the disarmament on the table, but we do expect them to show that they're coming into compliance. In other words, to start what the British and U.S. call active, proactive, strategic decision to disarm, which they say they've not seen yet. Still, huge divisions on that Security Council.

ZAHN: It's all about language. At one point, Christiane, today Hans Blix actually said, when it came to the issue of process, there was not only was active cooperation, but proactive, in some cases. A lot of language to parse here today.

Christiane Amanpour, thanks so much.

Time to go back to Wolf, I guess, Wolf, and try to get a better understanding of what all this means to the president. He made it pretty clear last night in his speech, and the following news conference, that he wasn't terribly concerned if this second resolution went down in flames -- Wolf.

BLITZER: He wanted everyone to be on record, up and down vote, the 15 members of the U.N. Security Council, whatever the outcome, let the world know precisely where those 15 members stand.

Let's get some additional analysis now of what all of this means, as we watch these pictures of the Bulgarian ambassador to the U.N. Security Council continue his remarks. Bulgaria generally supportive of the U.S. and Britain in this showdown with Iraq.

Joining me right now is David Albright. He's being a former U.N. weapons inspector. And Pat Lang, he's a former Defense Intelligence Agency analyst over at the Pentagon.

David, let me begin with you, talk about -- we heard Mohammed ElBaradei, the nuclear inspector, basically give the Iraqis a pretty clean bill of health right now, very upbeat, no evidence the Iraqis are engaged in any nuclear activities of any seriousness right now.

A more mixed account from Hans Blix on the other areas, the chemical, the biological, the ballistic missiles, although he did specifically say he doesn't need more years, he doesn't need days, but he does need some months if the Iraqis cooperate to get the job done. How much time, realistically, do they need if the Iraqis are going to cooperate?

DAVID ALBRIGHT, FMR. U.N. WEAPONS INSPECTOR: If they fully cooperate, they can get it done in a couple months. I mean, there's a lot of questions that have to be answered. But they have enough people, they have the skills, and if Iraq is bringing in the weapons of mass destruction to the U.N. headquarters or taking the inspectors to where they're located, opening up about what they've done in the past to destroy weapons or hide them away, it could be a straight- forward process, and we can see evidence of that quite quickly, and that's really what the British and Americans are getting at, is let's see that evidence quickly that there's going to be full compliance.

BLITZER: And one point that he did raise some alarm bells, the Iraqis over the past week have been destroying those Al Samoud II missiles, more than 30 of them have been destroyed. Although today, for the first day, he pointed out, there's been a pause. Now it just may be the result of the Muslim holy day, it's Friday. On the other hand, if there's a pause again tomorrow, that could be serious.

ALBRIGHT: No, that's right. The Iraqis made clear last weekend that they were going to stop destroying those missiles if they made a decision that the United States and Britain were going to go to war. And so we -- the pause may continue and we'll have to wait. But certainly -- you would not expect them to continue destruction today.

BLITZER: This is a -- to Pat Lang, this British proposal for a 10-day deadline, if you will, March 17, that's something the U.S. military could easily live with as they continue to unload equipment.

PAT LANG, FMR. DIA ANALYST: Yeah, that's right. For reasons not altogether clear to me, the ground force deployment into the gulf are not complete yet. We had two armored divisions, the first cavalry and the first armored, from Texas and Germany, respectively, received deployment orders last week, and they'll be just about arriving when the 17th is up. So they'll be glad to have that time.

BLITZER: An extra week, or 10 days or two weeks to get additional troops in place. You've studied the Iraqis for years and years and years. You know them, you speak Arabic. The question is this, if they're watching, if Saddam Hussein is watching this extraordinary debate unfold at the U.N. Security Council, listening to the British, the U.S. side, but also the French, and Germans, and Chinese and Russians, what does he do? What goes through his mind?

LANG: Saddam sees this essentially as a contest of wills between him and George Bush. And he knows he doesn't have any very good military options. He can seek to delay us somewhat and cause us casualties and hope maybe we would quit under the impact of that, but he knows that's not very unlikely. So his best chance is to do what he's doing, which is play the political game with all the skill he can muster. And if he watches this thing at the U.N. today, he thinks he has some chance, because there's a chance there, in fact, this may get to be so embarrassing and difficult with regard to the Europeans that George Bush may back away. That's Saddam's only hope, and that's the game he's playing.

BLITZER: Is that a realistic hope, though, that he has, or is this just wishful thinking? Because certainly, the president last night in his news conference gave no indication whatsoever he's about to blink.

LANG: It's the only hope he has. This is a man who, I think, has decided he's not going to go live in Jedda (ph), in a villa alongside a hotel swimming pool, like Idi Amin. He's going to do whatever he's going to do in Iraq. He made that pretty clear in that interview a week or so ago, and I think that he's going to play this game out to the end and try to win politically.

BLITZER: In the meantime, David, the inspectors remain on the ground, doing their work, although they will be given notification, the president said it last night, that if there's about to be some sort of hostility, they would be told get out of there very quickly. Is there any guarantee -- and I've gotten e-mail from viewers -- that the Iraqis would let them leave at that point?

ALBRIGHT: I think everyone's a little nervous about that. If Iraq decides a war is a sure bet, they may try to grab inspectors or other foreigners as hostages, and so it's unfortunately just going to have to wait.

BLITZER: Because among those, there's 16 nations represented in that inspection team, including U.S. citizen, British citizens, presumably who might be inviting targets for the Iraqis.

ALBRIGHT: They may selectively pick people to hold. Certainly if the Iraqis did that, it would galvanize support for a war. And so -- but if they think it's inevitable and they think they can benefit from it some way, then I think we have to worry about it.

LANG: There's something I'd like to add with regard to the perception of the United States' government, of the progress of the inspection regime. And I would say the most important thing from President Bush's point of view is a decision as to what the intentions for the future of the Iraqis are. This rather grudging cooperation indicate to me they wish to come out of this ahead in such a position they want to continue what they're doing, I don't think President Bush finds that satisfactory in any way.

BLITZER: Not in any way. Go ahead, David.

ALBRIGHT: And also, it's the inspectors who are starting to accept that. Certainly British -- I'm sorry, France and Germany seem to have accepted that, begrudging compliance, in part, is sufficient. But the inspectors are starting to accept that. And I think it's not -- it's really quite a dangerous thing to -- or a dangerous path to go down.

BLITZER: I'm going to ask both of you to stand by, and we're going to continue our analysis of all these critically important issues. Pakistan's foreign -- Pakistan's ambassador to the United Nations Munir Akram is speaking now.

MUNIR AKRAM, PAKISTANI AMBASSADOR TO U.N.: It's a pleasure to see the distinguished foreign minister of fraternal Guinea preside over the deliberations of this historic, and perhaps fateful, session of the Security Council on Iraq. I would also wish to take this opportunity to congratulate Germany, Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer and my friend Gunter Pleuger for the outstanding presidency of Germany during the previous month.

Mr. President, Iraq is a fraternal Islamic country, a country which should be amongst the most prosperous and advanced in our region. It is sad to see the suffering of the Iraqi people, suffering imposed on them as a result of two tragic wars against two fraternal neighbors, and the consequent sanctions and penalties imposed on their country. These sanctions have persisted for a dozen years now because of the resistance from the Iraqi leadership to eliminate the weapons of mass destruction they may possess or to provide credible proof that these have been destroyed.

Mr. President, if war is to be avoided and a peaceful solution realized, the council must impress upon Iraq at this session, once again, that it must comply fully and faithfully with its resolutions prescribing the elimination of its weapons of mass destruction. And Iraq must extend, as Resolution 1441 demands, active, immediate and unconditional cooperation in the process of eliminating its weapons of mass destruction. This is in Iraq's own supreme interest.

The Iraqi leadership must also take all possible measures to prevent suffering for the Iraqi people that could flow from a conflict.

Mr. President, we are grateful to Dr. Blix and Dr. ElBaradei for their respective reports. Their assessments have a critical bearing on any judgment that the council would make on whether the objectives of 1441 and earlier resolutions are being met.

In previous reports, we have been informed of mixed results. Cooperation on process, but far from satisfactory cooperation on substance.

The latest UNMOVIC report, the 12th quarterly report, notes the presentation by Iraq of new documents, beginning of private interviews, enactment of national legislation and acceptance of aerial surveillance. Overall, the report notes that the results in terms of disarmament have been very limited so far. It asks the natural question, I quote, "Why a number of measures which have been taken could not have been initiated earlier?"

However, since this report came out, the process of destruction of the al-Samoud missiles, as sought by UNMOVIC, has been under way. Dr. Blix has stated that the dismantling of these missiles, I quote, "is the most spectacular and the most important and tangible evidence of real disarmament." Dr. Blix has also outlined 29 clusters of questions pertaining to the remaining tasks to complete Iraqi WMD disarmament. We must move quickly to address and resolve all these issues.

The conclusions presented by the IAEA director general today indicate that there is no evidence of the revival of Iraq's nuclear program at present.

Mr. President, it is unfortunate that within the council divergent approaches have emerged to securing the elimination of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, with one side advocating urgent enforcement action, and the other suggests an intensified inspection and disarmament process.

Pakistan believes that an agreed approach can and must be evolved, even at this stage, through consultations among council members and with U.N. inspectors.

The best assurance of success in securing Iraqi WMD disarmament peacefully is the unity of the Security Council. We look forward, therefore, Mr. President, to the informal consultations this afternoon. We should identify the measures that can be taken by Iraq, by the U.N. inspectors and by the Security Council, which could establish beyond doubt that the U.N. inspections process is working and will result in the elimination of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction in a relatively short period of time.

Agreed ways and means to accomplish key, outstanding disarmament tasks can be the basis for such a consensus. Once we establish the ways to credibly achieve the disarmament of Iraq's WMD, we can also agree on a relatively short time frame.

Mr. President, this approach, in our view, would be better than propositions that could result in the early use of force. We, of course, understand the legitimate concerns which have been expressed here again today about preoccupation with the presence of hidden WMD assets or capabilities; about the consequence of relieving the pressure, which has evoked the cooperation now being offered by Iraq; and the desire to secure implementation of Security Council resolutions.

However, we believe that there is no imminent threat to international peace and security. The cost of delay, in our view, will be much less than the cost of war.

A credible cause for peace will be worthwhile.

As our secretary general has said, and I quote, "War is always a human catastrophe, and we should only consider it when all possibilities for a peaceful settlement have been exhausted," end quote.

Mr. President, the Security Council's vocation is peace, not war. War will have grave consequences for the Iraqi people, for peace and stability in our fragile region, for international peace and security, and for a world order based on the principles of the U.N. Charter and the rule of law. We must take into account the sentiments of our peoples and the views of other U.N. member states, the nonaligned countries and the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

Finally, the Security Council must uphold the principles of equity and nondiscrimination in international relations. We must, without doubt, hold Iraq up to the standards of international legality established by the resolutions of the Security Council. But we must ask the international community also to adhere to the same standards in addressing other problems and disputes.

The U.N. Security Council has adopted several resolutions to secure the solution for other festering and dangerous conflicts, such as those relating to Jammu and Kashmir and Palestine. The resolutions of the council must also be implemented with vigor and determination. The construction of the new architecture for global stability and prosperity at the dawn of the 21st century cannot be built upon double standards.

I thank you, Mr. President.

MAMADY TRAORE, GUINEAN AMB. TO U.N. (through translator): I thank the permanent representative of Pakistan for his statement, and for his kind words addressed to me.

I will now make a statement in my capacity as the minister for foreign affairs in cooperation (ph) of Guinea.

Mr. Secretary General, ladies and gentlemen, distinguished ministers, distinguished ambassadors, I would like to think Mssrs. Blix and ElBaradei for their briefings, and to express, once again, the confidence and support of Guinea.

This presentation comes at a special time. Humankind today finds itself at the crossroads, at a period fraught with dangers and full of uncertainty, risking to call into question basic common values which have always governed relations among states, and which are the bedrock on which the United Nations has been built.

The world in which we live is characterized primarily by many areas of tension, whose combined effects seriously jeopardize international peace and security. It is at this particularly critical moment in international life, characterized by contradictory trends, that we are holding this public meeting on the thorny question of Iraq.

The presence in this room of almost all the ministers of foreign affairs of state's members of the Security Council bears witness to the importance of the subject we are debating today.

With a view to finding a final solution to the Iraqi crisis on which all of international attention is now focused. Our council adopted a few months ago after arduous negotiations, Resolution 1441. It is true that since then significant progress has been seen in the implementation of this resolution. And my delegation welcomes this progress. It expresses a hope that this trend will continue and consolidate the initial active cooperation on the part of Iraq.

These facts must be rapidly confirmed by further, more significant gestures so as to finally re-establish confidence and bring us closer to our common, shared objective, that is the complete and effective disarmament of Iraq.

Since the beginning of the crisis, my country, which has opted for the peaceful disarmament of Iraq, remains convinced that if the chances for a peaceful solution still exist, they will only be a reality if the Iraqi authorities cooperate effectively to guarantee an effective inspection regime.

In order to do this, Baghdad must provide precise responses to important, still pending issues, especially giving convincing proof of unilateral destruction of certain biological and chemical weapons, by further encouraging scientists and experts to submit to private interviews, both within and without the country, in accordance with the modalities provided for under Resolution 1441, by providing without delay an updated list of all those scientists involved in armaments programs, by expanding the scope of legislation on the production, import and export of arms of mass destruction.

We can never say it enough: This is in the interest of Iraq. It is especially in the interest of its people, who have suffered too much from the maintenance of sanctions. The international community, which today seems to be in favor of a political solution, would not understand that Iraq continue its past procrastination. In the current state of crisis, Guinea, which is in favor of the continuation of inspections, is of the view that these cannot go on indefinitely. In the face of the challenge facing us all, we remain more than ever convinced that the adoption of action and unity is the only thing which we can do in order to have a necessary authority and legitimacy. We are among those who believe that if the Security Council manages to -- managed this crisis in an effective manner, its credibility and its influence will be considerably strengthened.

For its part, my delegation during the course of its presidency will endeavor to seek elements of a consensus in order to obtain this objective. Thank you.

I shall now resume my function as president of the council. I invite the distinguished (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of Iraq, his excellence Mr. Mohammed Aldouri, to take the floor. You have the floor, Mr. Ambassador.


In the name of God, the merciful, the compassionate, my delegation would like to extend its congratulations to you on your assumption of the presidency of the Security Council this month. We are confident that your African wisdom will be the best guarantor for the success of its work this month.

I should also like to thank Germany for its presidency of the Security Council last month and for all the efforts made towards the success of its deliberations.

I should like to thank both Drs. Blix and ElBaradei for their efforts and for their briefings. Let me stress our pledge on continuing proactive cooperation with them.

Mr. President, Iraq proceeds from a deep sense of responsibility, from a clarity of vision, in regards of the nature of the very difficult international circumstances that are an inauspicious omen not only for Iraq and its people but for the entire region and the world, which includes this organization, the United Nations organization.

The entire world, with the exception of a handful of states, remain desirous to see the United Nations continuing to fulfill the tasks entrusted it in keeping international peace and security.

Mr. President, it seems that the possibility of a war of aggression being launched on Iraq has become imminent regardless of what the Security Council decides and regardless of the international position, both official and public, strongly rejecting aggression and war and demanding a peaceful solution.

The French, German, Russian, Chinese position clearly expresses the fact that there is no need for a second resolution to be adopted in the Security Council. It demands that the work of the inspectors continue and that enough time is given them to complete their tasks by peaceful means.

The position of the Arab countries was also clear, particularly the one taken by the last Arab summit which unanimously expressed the rejection of an attack against Iraq as constituting a threat to Arab national security. The summit called on a peaceful resolution of the Iraqi crisis within international legitimacy. The summit reaffirmed the responsibility of the Security Council to preserve the independence, security and territorial integrity of Iraq. The summit also stated that time has come to lift the sanctions imposed on Iraq.

The latest summit of the Nonaligned Movement, a movement of 114 countries held in Kuala Lumpur, condemned military action and the threat of the use of military action, considering such action as aggression and a flagrant violation of the principle of non- interference. The heads of states and governments and the representatives of 57 Islamic countries who just met recently at the Al-Doha summit also declared their absolute rejection of any aggression on Iraq, considering it a threat to the security of any Islamic state.

Furthermore, I should like to express my appreciation for the efforts being made by all churches in stressing the importance of peace, as well as the efforts in particular made by his holiness the pope in underscoring peace and denouncing war, considering such war void from any moral or legitimate foundation.

On behalf of the people of Iraq, I should like to salute all the peoples in the world, and in particular the people of the United States of America and the British people, the people of Spain, who took to the streets in the millions in demonstrations expressing their attachment to peace and their rejection of war.

Mr. President, the U.S. administration, with Britain, have in the past and continue to attempt to trump up facts and evidence pointing to Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction.

However, they have come short...

ZAHN: Now let's listen to Secretary Powell take questions from reporters.

QUESTION: ... forge consensus on this issue, and if you have heard of this idea, what did you think of it? COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: I did hear of the idea. I was in the council when Dominique de Villepin mentioned it. I think the history of this is that Security Council meetings at heads of state level, we've only had two of those in any recent history that anyone can remember. Both were principally for ceremonial purposes.

I think we have all had good opportunity over the last month to express our views openly and candidly with each other here in the council at ministerial level. And our heads of state and government are in constant touch with each other. They have a solid understanding of each other's position. So at the moment I don't see a particular need for a heads of state and government meeting at the Security Council, which really isn't the place to deal with issues like this or the forum to deal with issues like that.

QUESTION: So the last time you were here the Security Council was divided, and today is again, as we see, is divided. What's wrong?

Also, you have seen everyone's card today. How you going to play?

POWELL: What's wrong is there is a fundamental difference of opinion as to what Iraq is doing. And I think a number of us tried to make the case today that Iraq still is not fully complying, unconditionally complying, immediately complying.

That was the standard of 1441. We knew what we were doing when we passed that resolution. It does not take a long time to comply. Just get on with it. Don't keep confusing the world. Don't keep handing out little bits of information. Don't keep grudgingly responding to what the inspectors ask for and what they need.

Iraq knows what it is supposed to do. It was made clear in 1441. There are those of us who believe, therefore, that it is time to deal with that basic reality that Iraq is not complying.

Others believe that just continuing the inspections, but they never quite say how long. For months. How many months? For what purpose? With what additional inspectors? And can anyone commit to me and guarantee the international community that we will achieve disarmament just with more inspections without a fundamental change on the part of Iraq to come into fully compliance and therefore full cooperation with the verification and monitoring activities of the inspectors?

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, Jack Straw is trying to find some more time to have a compromise for a few days. Do you have the patience for that now?

POWELL: Oh, I think the amendment to the resolution put down by Foreign Secretary Straw is, of course, one we support and worked on Mr. Straw in developing, along with our Spanish colleagues. And I believe in the very near future, sometime next week, that resolution ought to be brought to the council for a vote. And let's see where everyone is. And I don't think this just can continue on and on and on. And I think Mr. Straw powerfully made the point that the reason we are getting compliance is because of the presence of the armed forces of the United States and the United Kingdom.

POWELL: Inspectors have their jobs to do. We have put out powerful, strong political resolutions and determination, political determination, but it's also the presence of military force that is causing Iraqi compliance. We've got to keep that pressure up. We've got to let them know that it's going to come to a head in the very near future.

QUESTION: The French foreign minister stressed the importance of the United Nations in the world. What would it mean for the United Nations if you went ahead with war without being authorized by the U.N.? Would you sacrifice the U.N. for the sake of going to war?

POWELL: Well, we have no intention of sacrificing the U.N. And my concern right now is the clear will of the U.N. as expressed in 1441. They're in material breach, come into compliance, and serious consequences will follow. And we have had four months to see how that resolution has unfolded and the actions they have taken. And it seems to me the U.N. is damaged when there are members who do not want to stand up to the requirements of that resolution and take the action that was clearly intended in the absence of Iraqi compliance.

The U.N. is a very noble institution. It's been here over 50 years. And it will continue to serve a purpose in the future.

You will remember the resolution that was mentioned so frequently earlier today, Resolution 1284. That was debated here in the council for some seven to nine months, and France abstained in the final analysis.

QUESTION: The French foreign minister suggested that it could be an idea for heads of governments, heads of states to come here for the vote next week. Is that something you'd be in favor of?

POWELL: I just said a moment ago -- I did answer that one.

QUESTION: What is wrong, what is unreasonable about the French suggestion that we have achieved now active, proactive cooperation from Iraq, according to both chief inspectors for the last month, and we have achieved it thanks to your presence and pressure in the Middle East area with your forces? Now that we achieved this, why do we want to go back to the conflict?

POWELL: Because I don't think we've really achieved that much. When you see the 167-page paper that we were making reference to and if you read every page of it, as we have recently, and when you see the history associated with each one of these programs for weapons of mass destruction, and when you see the questions that are remaining, questions that could have been answered any time over the past five years, the past 10 years, and remain unanswered, what you are seeing is a continued pattern of lack of cooperation. And that is a problem for us. We are seeing some cooperation in process. We see when they are up against the wall, when they know there's going to be another ministerial-level meeting at the Security Council, suddenly some more action is taken.

Only when they see this kind of pressure and they're afraid that the Security Council might act a united way do they step forward and take additional steps to make the inspectors believe, make us believe that they are really in compliance when they really aren't.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, this resolution and this amendment is somewhat sketchy, it doesn't -- once again does not define full cooperation or any of the other terms that are used. What is to say that if it's adopted, we won't be here on March the 17th arguing again about whether Iraq is in full, immediate cooperation?

POWELL: We know what full compliance should look like. And we know what it does not look like. And it does not look like full compliance now.

They have known for these past 12 years what the requirements are, what the benchmarks are, what they are supposed to do, what we are expecting from them. And for 12 years, they have failed to comply. They have failed to cooperate.

More than that, they have done everything to divide, to deceive, to put out practice of deception.

And what we are saying is in this amendment to the resolution, we are laying out clearly, I think, in that third operative paragraph what we are looking for in order to see whether or not Iraq has or has not lost this last chance...

POWELL: Yes, I know.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) very different interpretations this morning about...

POWELL: Well, there are different interpretations. There are some people who simply, in my judgment, don't want to see the facts clearly. I do not see the level of cooperation that should satisfy us that Iraq is complying in a way that we would know they were no longer going to have weapons of mass destruction and they have given up the intent, the desire to have weapons of mass destruction.

One more, then I have to go.

QUESTION: Are you saying that Hans Blix doesn't see the facts clearly? And is it not the U.S. who's making the U.N. look irrelevant by failing to listen to the man who was sent over there to find out what's going on?

POWELL: No, we listen very carefully to Hans Blix, and I thought he gave a very thoughtful, balanced report. But even Dr. Blix, if you listen very carefully to his report and read his report, he expresses concern about the level of cooperation that he has received. I give all credit to Dr. Blix and Dr. ElBaradei and the terrific people who work for them for the work they have been doing, but that work is being frustrated by the continuing actions on the part of Saddam Hussein and his regime to keep them from doing their job properly. And their job is to assist Iraq in the process of coming into compliance, and that's what Iraq has not yet decided to do.

Thank you.

ZAHN: That was Secretary Powell's last question to reporters who were given the chance to ask him a number of them, making it very clear that he didn't think the French foreign minister's idea of bringing together heads of state to the end to try to somehow get rid of this great divide at the U.N. would make any sense at all, and also taking the opportunity to tweak some of the members of the Security Council that begrudgingly went along with the language of 1441 and now he says are not standing up to the language that they agreed to.

Let's go back to Mohammed Aldouri, who is the Iraqi ambassador to the U.N.

ALDOURI (through translator): All those who abetted in the commission of that crime without a direct interest will be sorry indeed. I thank you, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I thank the permanent representative of Iraq for his statement and for the kind words addressed to me.

There are no more speakers on my list. In accordance with the understanding reached in the council's prior consultations, I now invite council members to continue informal consultations at 5:00 p.m. The meeting stands adjourned.

ZAHN: Well, clearly a day of drama at the U.N., a day that has left many questions that need to be answered. The British foreign secretary saying that Iraq has not taken a final opportunity to disarm, yet offering a last chance through an amendment, an imposed deadline of March 17 to comply.

France, for its part, saying it cannot accept the proposed British deadline of March 17, or any ultimatum, for that matter. But when asked if that statement constituted a likely veto down the road, the French foreign minister told a reporter, "I think you have your answer."

You also have the uncertainty of the U-6 countries, the undecided countries that the Bush administration would need to get the nine necessary votes to get a second resolution passed.


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