Powell: No new resolution needed to authorize attack on Iraq; Thousands of Americans stage anti-war demonstrations
Iraq is failing to comply with the UN Security Council resolution calling for its disarmament and is deceiving UN arms inspectors, US Secretary of State Colin Powell said in an interview with a German newspaper.
In the interview, published in the Sueddeutsche Zeitung paper on Saturday, Powell also noted the importance of a report on the arms issue to be given to the Security Council on January 27, and said that if the UN did not do what was required to disarm Iraq after that date, the United States reserved the right to do so.
"Based on what we have seen so far, Iraq is failing to meet the mandate of 1441," Powell told the paper.
"Iraq has failed to cooperate. It has failed to put forward a believable declaration, as required. It is not making people available. It is not making documents available. It is deceiving the inspectors. It is trying to make it harder for the inspectors to do their work," Powell said, according to an official transcript of the interview released in Washington.
"If the United States feels strongly that Iraq still has weapons of mass destruction and (is) trying to develop new ones, the United States reserves the right and believes there is sufficient authority within international law, based on many acts of noncompliance, many material breaches in the past and continuing material breaches into the present, that would give us a basis for undertaking whatever might be required to disarm Iraq," Powell said.
"What the United States will be looking for on the 27th of January and what every member of the Security Council should be looking for on the 27th of January is a simple -- is a simple proposition: Is Iraq cooperating, as was intended under 1441? And is it cooperating in a way that would satisfy the demands of the international community for Iraq to disarm? And that's a judgment that the Council will have to make," the US official said.
"We cannot get ourselves into a situation where the Council just, in the presence of this kind of non-cooperation, just wants to not do anything and let it continue forever," he added.
Powell also said the United States had "absolutely no regrets" at having gone to the United Nations to try and seek agreement for action against Iraq. He added that US President had not yet decided whether to go to war.
"The President has not made a decision for war. The President has said he would like to see this resolved peaceably," he told the paper.
"But if it isn't resolved peacefully -- peacefully -- then, he believes the international community has an obligation to disarm Iraq forcefully."
"And he believes if the international community isn't willing to do it, then the United States, with like-minded nations, may have that obligation so that the world does not face an Iraq with weapons of mass destruction."
Earlier on Friday, Bush's spokesman, Ari Fleischer, said it was "becoming increasingly clear" that Saddam had not disarmed.
He added that 11 empty chemical warheads found by UN inspectors in Iraq on Thursday did not appear on the list of weapons Iraq had submitted to the United Nations.
Meanwhile, Americans opposed to the war on Iraq gathered for mass demonstrations on Saturday. Pleading for the White House to back down and let inspections run their course, tens of thousands of people were expected to protest in Washington and San Francisco.
Organizers said the rallies would be the largest showing of U.S. anti-war sentiment since President George W. Bush started making his case for attacking Iraq last year. (Albawaba.com)
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