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 You are in: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice > Former Secretaries of State > Former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell > Speeches and Remarks > 2003 > October

Remarks on UN Iraq Resolution Vote

Secretary Colin L. Powell
C Street Entrance
Washington, DC
October 16, 2003


(11:10 a.m. EDT)

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, good morning. We are, of course, very pleased with the unanimous vote in the Security Council this morning on what is now UN resolution 1511. The resolution accomplishes the objectives that the President had when we began work on this resolution a few weeks ago to bring the international community together to agree on a plan to move forward to restore full sovereignty of Iraq back to the Iraqi people in a careful, deliberate way that would include creating a government that was based on a constitution and electing leaders on the basis of that constitution.

The resolution puts momentum behind that effort, recognizing the unique obligations and responsibilities of the Coalition Provisional Authority. The resolution also gives a chapeau to the Multinational Force, as it will now be called. It also invites, as we wanted it to, invites the Governing Council to come forward with a plan for the transition back to full Iraqi sovereignty and a time schedule. And we added a date for that plan to come in, the 15th of December. And so we are putting the plan into the hands of the Iraqis, as opposed to the Americans dictating it, or any other country coming up with an arbitrary date.

And so there is much in the resolution to be admired, but it satisfies our goals and objectives. I am very, very pleased and the President is very, very pleased at this outcome. The President believes that with the international community coming together, as it now has, it sets the stage for the Donors Conference next week that will take place in Madrid. And the President has tasked me and Secretary Snow, and other members of his cabinet to be in touch with members of the international community in light of this new resolution to encourage maximum participation and contribution to the Donors Conference next week.

And with that, I will take whatever questions you might have.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, do you expect to get more contributions in troops? And will this unlock any wallets that have been frozen shut?

SECRETARY POWELL: With respect to troops, it assists those nations who are interested in providing troops by giving this broader UN mandate for those troops and putting them under a Multinational Force designation.

We will now be in touch with those countries to see what additional items they wish to discuss, or what additional elements they need dealt with before they make their decision. But it certainly assists us in this process.

With respect to additional contributions, it certainly does assist as we now go around and ask people to be generous, as the United States is planning to be generous.

I think this is a great achievement for the entire Security Council to come together again in this manner, and I'd like to thank those who co-sponsored along with us, and all of those who, over the last several days, as we went through this with misgivings and disagreements and debate, realize at the end of the day, as the Secretary General said a few moments ago: "We have come together to help the Iraqi people and put all of our disagreements of the past into the past, leave them in the past and work together for a better future for the Iraqi people."

This is all about the Iraqi people. The President is pleased that everybody now understands that, and we are together on that mutual goal of helping the Iraqi people.

QUESTION: Secretary Powell, thank you. How many -- can you give us a range of troops -- 0 to 15,000 -- of how many you want to see --

SECRETARY POWELL: No, there's been no change in the number of potential candidates that are out there. Don't see this resolution as opening the door to troops. Those who are interested in providing troops are well known to you. Some of them said they needed the addition of a UN resolution to assist them in their internal deliberations, but I would not want to put a particular number on how many troops might or might not be contributed at this time.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, do you expect France, Russia and Germany to provide substantial financial contributions?

SECRETARY POWELL: From what they said, I am not expecting major contributions from them. And I think Chancellor Schroeder said earlier this morning that there would not be more aid coming. That's a decision that they will have to make, each and every one of them. But I would hope that if they reflect on the needs of the Iraqi people, they would give serious consideration to doing what they can do to support the Iraqi people.

This isn't a matter of supporting the United States or the coalition. This is a matter of helping people who are in need. And I hope all of the nations, in light of this new resolution, will reexamine their approach to this in that light.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, last week at this time, officials were kind of saying that they weren't optimistic, that they might consider -- you even said last week that you might consider dropping the resolution. How did you turn it around and get a unanimous vote?


SECRETARY POWELL: I won't do it. Wouldn't be right.

By the beginning of this week, I was confident, and the President was confident, that we had probably nine solid votes. And by Tuesday morning, I was sure of nine votes, which is the minimum number for passage, and I was confident there would be no vetoes. So passage was assured earlier this week.

But we were looking for more than passage. We were looking for a solid statement from the entire international community and all of the members of the Security Council, if possible. And so we have worked very hard over the last 48 hours to listen to our colleagues in the Security Council, to see what concerns they had with the resolution, but to make it clear to them what our principles were and what we had to see in such a resolution.

And I am very pleased that over the last 48 hours, as a result of a lot of work on the part of people in the State Department, the White House, the National Security Council, the President, and a wonderful team of diplomats in New York and our ambassadors in capitals, we succeeded, especially in the last 24 hours of slowly adding to the number nine. Ten, eleven and twelve came between 10:30 and 3 o'clock yesterday afternoon, and then into the evening we got up to twelve, I guess. I'll take that through the evening. We got to twelve and then overnight two more joined, and then a 15th joined this morning. If you look at 1441, it's almost the same kind of thing.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, can I actually ask about North Korea? The Foreign Ministry in North Korea is saying today that they have plans to physically display their nuclear deterrent. I'm wondering what your reaction to that is, and if you've seen any indications that such a plan is actually going to happen.

SECRETARY POWELL: I don't know what they mean. They've said things like that before, and I don't know what they mean.

QUESTION: You say that now disagreements -- (airplane overhead). At least you didn't walk back in under that cover. Thanks.


QUESTION: You say that now this is -- it's time to put the disagreements behind you. But if nobody comes forward, or if they don't come forward generously, as you put it, at the Donors Conference, isn't that going to be evidence of new disagreement?

SECRETARY POWELL: I'm -- not all disagreements -- you know, there will be new disagreements, and it is not as if everything is behind us. But I think the major disagreements of the early part of the year, to go to war or not to go to war, that's over. What we have been debating for the last several weeks is how best to create the peace, not whether to go to war or not, and how best to create a new government in Iraq that will be representative of its people and live in peace with its neighbors. I think we're all now agreed to that.

Now, how to go about that, how to contribute to it, the transition of authority -- we will continue to have debates and discussions about that. But I think this resolution went a long way to bringing us all together again so that these debates can continue in a very, very constructive manner.

Frankly, I am becoming more optimistic about the Donors Conference next week. I've had some pretty good conversations. I wouldn't want to give out a number now, but I am more optimistic than I was last week with respect to the Donors Conference in Madrid.

One more, then I have to go.

QUESTION: Can you comment on Syria's vote today? Does that --


QUESTION: On Syria's decision in the Security Council today.

SECRETARY POWELL: No, I'm pleased that they decided that they did not want to be left out of the consensus. And we got word during the night that they were reflecting on their position. We heard that in the middle of the night. And this morning, we were advised that they would be joining the other 14 members. I think once they learned that the two remaining members who were not in the consensus last night were now in the consensus, they decided they'd make it unanimous. I'm very pleased that they did.

Thank you.

Released on October 16, 2003

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