Ahead of ''evidence'' presentation by Powell: U.S., Britain escalate rhetoric against Iraq
The U.S. and Britain Monday intensified war rhetoric against Baghdad as Secretary of State Colin Powell worked on sorting out classified intelligence to present as "evidence" of Iraq's defiance.
Powell is expected to display to the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday photographs of mobile biological weapons installations and refer to transcripts of overheard conversations among Iraqi officials, an administration official told The Associated Press.
Powell, in an article in The Wall Street Journal on Monday, said there would be no "smoking gun" in his presentation designed to show that Saddam has defied disarmament demands. But he noted that U.N. weapons inspectors were harassed and shadowed by Iraqi government "minders" who monitored what those interviewed said to U.N. inspectors.
"The U.S. seeks Iraq's peaceful disarmament," Powell said. "But we will not shrink from war if that is the only way to rid Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction."
Iraq continued to smuggle in technology for weapons programs in January, he asserted.
"We will work to bridge our differences, building on the bedrock of our shared values and long history of acting together to meet common challenges," Powell wrote.
The secretary plans to meet in New York on Tuesday and Wednesday with 10 or more foreign ministers who will attend the Security Council session.
Powell met with the king of Bahrain, Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, who then called on Vice President Dick Cheney and planned to see President Bush at the White House.
In London, British Prime Minister Tony Blair has said the
United Nations must complete the disarmament of Iraq or become impotent. He told the House of Commons the UN Security Council should pass a second resolution declaring Iraq in breach of its obligation to disarm and authorizing military action.
"A signal of weakness over Iraq is not only wrong in its own terms, Blair said. "Show weakness now and no one will ever believe us when we try to show strength in the future."
Blair added Iraq was already in "material breach" of its obligation to disarm, but that a second UN vote should come before military action. "The situation could not be clearer," he said. "There is a duty on (Iraqi President) Saddam (Hussein) to cooperate fully.
"At present he is not cooperating fully. Failure to do so is a material breach of (UN Security Council) resolution 1441." The British leader said Iraq had set up a "huge infrastructure of deception and concealment" to block weapons inspections, and that if inspectors continued to report a lack of cooperation, "a second resolution should be passed confirming such a material breach". (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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