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Background: World Reactions to Colin Powell’s U.N. Presentation

February 5, 2003 at 12:00 AM EDT
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KWAME HOLMAN: Immediately following Sec. Powell’s presentation this morning each of 15 members of Security Council was given a few minutes to respond. Most spoke from previously prepared remarks. The majority asserted Iraq’s cooperation needs to improve but that inspections must continue.

TANG JIAXUAN ( translated): We should respect the views of the two agencies and support the continuation of their work.

IGOR IVANOV (translated): Baghdad must give the inspectors answers to the questions that we have heard in the presentation given by the U.S. Secretary of State.

KWAME HOLMAN: France maintained it’s opposition to war.

DOMINIQUE DE VILLEPIN (translated): Given the choice between the inspection regime inadequate because of a failure to operate on Iraq’s part we must choose the decisive reinforcement of the means. This is what France is proposing. Let’s triple the numbers of inspectors. Let’s just go further than this. Could we not for example set up a specialized body to keep under surveillance the sites and areas already inspected. Let’s us reinforce the capacity for collecting information in Iraq. The use of force can only be a final resource.

KWAME HOLMAN: Only Britain has forced its willingness to pour forcibly disarmed Saddam Hussein. Powell. Foreign Minister Jack Straw says Powell’s evidence shows Iraq is not willing to cooperate.

JACK SRAW: It is clear that Iraq has failed this test. These briefings have confirmed our worst fears that Iraq has no intention of relinquishing its weapons of mass destruction, no intention of following the path of peaceful disarmament set out in Security Council Resolution 1441. Instead of open admissions and transparency we have a charade where a veneer of superficial corporation masks willful concealment. If non-cooperation continues, the council must meets its responsibility.

KWAME HOLMAN: Germany’s representative, Joschka Fischer, says what happens in the coming weeks will be significant.

JOSCHKA FISCHER: Chief inspector Blix and elBaradei will travel to Iraq again next week and thereafter update us. The success of this trip will be of paramount importance. The dangers of a military action and its consequences are plain to see precisely because of effectiveness of the inspectors we must continue to speak a — seek a peaceful solution to the crisis.

KWAME HOLMAN: And thought not a council member, Iraq was invited to comment on the others. Amb. Mohammed al-Douri made his feelings clear.

MOHAMMED AL-DOURI (translated): We had wished we were granted sufficient time to measure it with the gravity of the statements made by the U.S. Secretary of State in his presentation and not just a few minutes to rebut a statement that lasted over an hour — the pronouncement in Mr. Powell’s statements on weapons of mass destruction are utterly unrelated to the truth. No new information was provided. Mere sound recording that cannot be ascertained as genuine.

KWAME HOLMAN: Al-Douri went on to refute several of Sec. Powell’s allegations, starting with the intercepted conversation.

MOHAMMED AL-DOURI (translated): Perhaps you saw me smile when you heard some of the recordings. They contain some words that I will not attempt to translate here however there are incorrect allegations, unnamed sources, unknown sources. There are assumptions and presumptions, which all fall in line with the American policy towards one known objective.

KWAME HOLMAN: The Iraqi ambassador said the claims there are mobile laboratories producing biological agents is untrue.

MOHAMMED AL-DOURI (translated): Dr. Blix just yesterday stated that UNMOVIC to date had no proof of the presence of such mobile units.

KWAME HOLMAN: Also disputed by Al-Douri is the claim that Iraq has laboratories.

MOHAMMED AL-DOURI (translated): They require huge production facilities starting from research and development facilities, to factories to weaponization, then deployment. Such things condition be concealed.

KWAME HOLMAN: Late this afternoon U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan commented.

KOFI ANNAN: It is expected that the inspectors will take up the new information that the secretary of state has given. Some of it may be familiar with them and they will factor that into their work, and when they are in Iraq they’ll pursue the leads they have been given.

KWAME HOLMAN: Inspectors are due to report back to Security Council next week.