Powell reiterates Washington wants ''regime change'' in Baghdad
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Wednesday that "regime change" in Baghdad was the best way to ensure that Iraq disarmed.
US Secretary of State Colin Powell has refused to rule out the possibility that Washington might still try to oust the Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein, even if he complies with UN resolutions on weapons inspections.
"The U.S. continues to believe that the best way to disarm Iraq is through a regime change," Powell said in an interview with the BBC.
Powell's comments contrast with the stance taken by British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his ministers, who have stuck resolutely to saying that disarmament is their main aim in Iraq.
On the issue of "regime change", the British government says only that it could be a desirable consequence of disarming Iraq, and is not a primary objective.
"The objective which we seek is the disarmament of the Saddam Hussein regime," British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said on Wednesday, according to Reuters. "It may be that a consequence of that process will be regime change.
"It may be that a means to achieve that process is regime change, but in terms of the objective it is disarmament," he told BBC radio. Powell urged the international community to keep up the pressure on Saddam via the United Nations.
"Pressure has to be maintained on Iraq until the U.N. is satisfied that he has got rid of these weapons or allowed inspectors in to make sure of that -- that's the only way to do it -- and then we'll see whether or not that's adequate or whether more action is required."
The United States is projected to table the draft of a new resolution on Iraq within the next few days. The resolution is inclined to warn Iraq that it will be hit by military strikes if it does not fully comply with inspections.
Asked whether Saddam could remain in power if he did comply with U.N. demands, Powell refused to commit himself. "We'll have to wait and see. We'll have to see how he responds to the pressure he's under from the international community," he said. (Albawaba.com)
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