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Interview on Spain's Antena 3

Secretary Colin L. Powell
Washington, DC
February 20, 2003

MR. ORTEGA: The U.S. and U.K., they are working now on a draft for a new resolution. Can you share with us some details? There's going to be some deadline in the text? A deadline? Some details on the new resolution?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, we're still working on the new resolution. We're also in contact with our Spanish colleague, Ana Palacios, and discussing the matter with her. And I think the new resolution will contain language that points out Iraq's failure to comply with its obligations under 1441 and earlier resolutions and it will bring this to the attention of the Security Council for something to be done, to be considered for action.

But I don't know that there will be a deadline in the resolution, but clearly time is running out. The problem is that Iraq is not complying. We have press reports in our newspapers today about how the inspectors are not able to do the work that Iraq said they could do. So the issue isn't more inspectors, the issue isn't more robust inspections or time for inspections; the issue is compliance, and in the absence of compliance, I think the Security Council has to consider another resolution and make a judgment as to how much more time Iraq should be given.

MR. ORTEGA: What could happen if, at the end, France is going to use its right to veto?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, France has a right to veto, as does any other permanent member of the Security Council. But I hope that when all the facts are put before the Security Council and they see that Iraq is not complying, not really cooperating with the inspectors, that a lot of the things that were said at the United Nations last week about Iraqi compliance have turned out not to be the case, that sooner or later the Council will say enough is enough, in the absence of compliance, we are obliged under the Resolution 1441 to take action.

That is certainly the position of the United States and I think Prime Minister Aznar has been in the forefront of those leaders who understand our obligations to the safety of the world, our commitment to the people of the world to do something about these terrible weapons.

MR. ORTEGA: Mr. Secretary, I ask you now as a former military, there is the perception out there the war beyond the second week of March is going to be a bad scenario for the American Army in Iraq. I cannot believe that the weather and the moon phases are killing the diplomacy and the passions.

SECRETARY POWELL: They are not. The weather and the moon phases have nothing to do with the diplomacy. The diplomacy is something that stands by itself. But the reality is that Iraq has not taken this last opportunity given to it by 1441. The United States, the United Kingdom and others have been sending forces to the region to support diplomacy; to make sure Iraq understands the seriousness of this matter. And if it weren't for those forces that are deployed in the area and moving to the area, Iraq wouldn't be doing anything at all.

But what it is doing is not enough and we always knew when we passed Resolution 1441 that the day might come when the Security Council had to take a look and say this isn't working, Iraq is not complying, they are not cooperating; longer inspections, more inspectors are not the answer; we must use military force. And I hope that the members of the Security Council and the other nations in the world that might join in a coalition are prepared to do their duty when the moment comes.

MR. ORTEGA: Mr. Powell, what if, at the end, at the last moment, Saddam Hussein chooses exile to avoid the war, to avoid defeat? Is going the U.S. prosecute him? Is going the U.S. Army in any way enter in Iraq?

SECRETARY POWELL: I think if Saddam Hussein and his top leadership were to leave the country, go into exile, I think this would be a very positive step. And at that time, the United Nations could take a look at the leadership that emerges, that follows Saddam Hussein, and if that leadership says we want to disarm of all these weapons of mass destruction, we want nothing to do with any of this, we want to cooperate fully with the United Nations, then inspectors would have something to work with, and, frankly, it may be possible for the U.S. to provide direct assistance to that new leadership.

The United States has no desire to invade a country or take over a country. That's not our history. That's not our tradition. We do have a desire to protect ourselves and protect our friends and to protect the world from these kinds of dangerous weapons. But the world will be better served if Saddam Hussein would go off into exile with the key members of his family and of the leadership group that has brought such tragedy to the people of Iraq.

MR. ORTEGA: Mr. Powell, if the real goal of the administration is to implement the will of the international community, why to put military government in Baghdad after the war, American? Why not an international?

SECRETARY POWELL: We would only have military government until such time as we can transition to international presence, to international authority, or to the people of Iraq. But when you're conducting a military operation, a military commander is in charge. But as soon as his work is done, we want to transition. We don't want a military government of the type we had in Germany or in Japan after World War II that went on for years. We want to transition authority back to civilian authority and then to the Iraqi people with some international presence.

The United States does not want to be in charge of a country such as Iraq for any length of time. We have to be there long enough to make sure that we are taking care of the people, that they are being provided food, and that we have provided stability in the country, and then turn it over to international organizations and turn it over to the people of Iraq. The United States record is quite clear on this. We want to do the job, do it well, preserve peace, and then transition back to civilian authority under the leadership of Iraqis.

MR. ORTEGA: Thank you very much.



Released on February 20, 2003

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