RAY SUAREZ: The United Kingdom is Washington's strong strongest ally, but today even British Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock said weapons inspectors may get three more weeks to work.
JEREMY GREENSTOCK: The German presidency has made it clear that it would like to have a further report from the inspectors on the 14th of February and the U.K. would welcome that. And we wish to hear further how the inspectors are getting on. Now, now let me make a comment or two on what we just heard, because I won't be taking questions after this statement.
I think what we've heard is a catalogue of unresolved questions. And it's quite clear to all members of the Security Council that this is not going to be resolved peacefully through the U.N. process unless we have 100 percent cooperation from Iraq. It's not a matter of time; it's a matter of attitude. And the attitude we're getting from the Iraqis at the moment is just not sufficient for the eradication of the programs that we know about. That's what we're going to discuss. That is why time is running out. And that is why we need now, we all know we need now Grade A cooperation from the Iraqis in a way which is not happening. Let's see whether we can get that. Thank you very much.
RAY SUAREZ: Around the same time in Brussels, Britain's foreign secretary, Jack Straw, spoke in sharper terms.
JACK STRAW: There is clear evidence now that Saddam has made this a charade of an inspection, cooperating on process but not on substance. As we said in the final paragraph of 1441, if this failure to comply continued, then Iraq would have to face, and I quote, serious con sequences."
RAY SUAREZ: Along with the U.S. And Britain, China, Russia and France are permanent members of the Security Council. Each holds all five hold veto power. In Paris, Pres. Jacques Chirac followed the un morning session with a statement, saying "he is favorable to the inspectors continuing their work. They must benefit from the full and entire cooperation of Iraq." In New York, Chinese and Russian ambassadors echoed that point.
WANG YINGFAN: We share the view of many that this process needs to continue and more time is needed for the inspectors.
SERGEY LAVROV: All these new finds do not change the basic assumption on which UNMOVIC and IAEA are working, namely that they don have any evidence that Iraqi has resumed working on their programs nor can they assert that all these programs have been stopped. Flowing from this is the need for inspections to continue.
REPORTER: What does their pressure due to the process?
SERGEY LAVROV: I think if somebody feels that time is running out, the question why should be asked from that particular country. Not from me.
RAY SUAREZ: South Africa had previously disarmed and kept their nuclear weapons program under U. N. supervision. Its ambassador is Dumisani Kumalo.
DUMISANI KUMALO: A lot has been made about South Africa having been an example of how the inspections are conducted in such matters. But what I would like to point out is to quote Dr. ElBaradei of IAEA, who made it clear that in South Africa, with all the cooperation that South African government gave to the inspectors, it took over two years for the inspectors to be satisfied that this has happened. All we are saying is that you can't stop the game in the middle. You can say this game has been going on now we want to stop it.
RAY SUAREZ: In Baghdad, Iraqi citizens reacted to the events in New York with another anti-American protest. They've been regular occurrences. At the U.N., Iraq's representative pleaded innocent to criticisms from Washington and elsewhere.
MOHAMMED AL-DOURI: Iraq provided a full and complete declaration, and since the 27th of November, 2002, Iraq has actively cooperated with resolution 1441 by facilitating interviews and in granting immediate, unconditional, unrestricted access for inspections from the IAEA and the UNMOVIC. In less than two months, more than 440 inspections were carried out to more than 297 sites, which included presidential sites. The man conclusion of today's session is that both Mr. Blix and Mr. ElBaradei said that inspections are working, and they found no evidence of mass destruction.
REPORTER: The U.S. Ambassador said that the inspectors found some items there in Iraq that was not declared in your report to the Security Council. And is this a bridge, or some oversight?
MOHAMMED AL-DOURI: We discussed that question. We discussed that question in Baghdad with Mr. Blix and his team. And I think that he was convinced that this would not continue a material breach, as it was mentioned before.
RAY SUAREZ: The Syrian ambassador to the United States spoke on behalf of several Middle Eastern nations.
MIKHAIL WAHBE: It was very interesting to listen from them that Iraq is in cooperation with both, in that inspection mission. And we hope that the inspection mission will be extended as well and will be given enough time as. As far as Syria is concerned, we informed the Council about the ministerial meeting in is stand bull for the six countries of the neighboring countries to Iraq, which concentrated on the pursuing the peaceful solution and undertaking that all these countries, they are ready to cooperate with the Security Council.
RAY SUAREZ: The Security Council continues its deliberations on the weapons reports Wednesday.
JIM LEHRER: The major U.S. reaction came from Sec. of State Powell. He spoke at the State Department this afternoon.
COLIN POWELL: The inspectors' findings came as no surprise. For 11 years before 1441, Saddam Hussein's regime refused to make the strategic decision, the political decision to disarm itself of weapons of mass destruction and to comply with the world's demands. To this day, the Iraq regime continues to defy the will of the United Nations. The Iraq regime has responded to 1441 with empty claims, empty declarations and empty gestures. It has not given the inspectors and the international community any concrete information in answer to a host of key questions. Where is the missing anthrax? This is not just a question of historical curiosity, it is essential for us to know what happened to this deadly material. Where is the VX? Also not just a trivial question, we must know what happened to this deadly material. Where are the chemical and biological munitions? Where are the mobile biological laboratories? If the Iraqi regime was truly committed to disarmament, we wouldn't be looking for these mobile labs. They'd drive them up and park them in front of UNMOVIC headquarters for inspection. Why is Iraq violating the restrictions on ballistic missiles? Why is it violating the ban on missiles with a range of more than 150 kilometers?
The inspectors told us that their efforts have been impeded by a swarm of Iraqi minders. Why, if Iraq was committed to disarmament, would they be going to these efforts to deceive and to keep the inspectors from doing their work? Passive cooperation is not what was called for in 1441. The inspectors have also told us that they have evidence that Iraq has moved or hidden items at sites just prior to inspection visits. That's what the inspectors say, not what Americans say, not what American intelligence says. Well, we certainly corroborate all of that, but this is information from the inspectors. And the inspectors have caught the Iraqis concealing top-secret information in a private residence. You all saw the pictures of that information being brought out. Why?
The list of unanswered questions and the many ways Iraq is frustrating the work of the inspectors goes on and on. Iraq's refusal to disarm, in compliance with Resolution 1441, still threatens international peace and security. And Iraq's defiance continues to challenge the relevance and credibility of the Security Council. Iraq must not be allowed to keep weapons of mass terror and the capacity to produce more. The world community must send a clear message to Iraq that the will of the international community must be obeyed.
Iraqi intransigence brings us to a situation where we see that regime continuing to confront the fundamental choice between compliance with 1441 and the consequence of its failure to disarm, the consequences of its failure to disarm. Even at this late date, the United States hopes for a peaceful solution. But a peaceful solution is possible only if Iraq disarms itself with the help of the inspectors. The issue is not how much more time the inspectors need to search in the dark. It is how much more time Iraq should be given to turn on the lights and to come clean. And the answer is: Not much more time. Iraq's time for choosing peaceful disarmament is fast coming to an end. Thank you and I'm prepared for your questions.
REPORTER: Up until a week ago yesterday, you were a strong advocate for a diplomatic solution to the Iraqi situation
COLIN POWELL: I still am.
REPORTER: In fact, to the point where many of my brethren even labeled you a "dove."
COLIN POWELL: I've been labeled many things over the years. (Scattered laughter.)
REPORTER: As of the talk shows a week ago yesterday, last Sunday, you started talking tough, and you've been talking very tough ever since, in Switzerland and again today. One, what changed your mind? And then I have a follow-up question, if I may.
COLIN POWELL: It has been clear from the very beginning, you know, I am one of the principal authors of 1441. And for better or worse, I can take some credit for having been one of its champions as we drove it through the United Nations Security Council process for a period of seven-and-a-half weeks. And we always insisted on three elements to that: One, Iraq is in material breach; two, this is their last chance; there have to be serious consequences, and those serious consequences meant the use of force. And you've heard me say that repeatedly, repeatedly.
I've also said that if the international community, through the U.N., when the time comes, does not wish to use force, the United States reserves its right as a sovereign nation to make a judgment within this clear record of violation, to use force alongside like-minded nations who might wish to be part of such a coalition. So I have been consistent throughout this entire process. As I've watched the process unfold, I have watched Iraq go by every exit ramp, diplomatic exit ramp that was put there for them. They could have made a full, complete and accurate declaration in December, which would have given us some confidence that they were serious about disarmament. Instead, they gave us 12,200 pages of nothing very useful.
The inspectors said that today. There was nothing new. They added nothing to the body of knowledge. They tried to deceive the inspectors. They tried to deceive us -- one ramp gone by. We have watched subsequently as they have kept reconnaissance planes from doing the work that could be helpful to the inspectors. They have done all the things that I have described and you have heard other of my colleagues describe, Deputy Sec. Armitage, Deputy Sec. Wolfowitz last week. And so we are getting closer and closer to the point where the Security Council is going to have to look at the options that it anticipated it would have to look at when 1441 was originally passed. And so, hang any label you want on me. I'm a great believer in diplomacy and a great believer in finding a peaceful solution, but I also recognize that when somebody will not accept a peaceful solution by doing their part of creating a peaceful solution, one must never rule out the use of force to implement the will of the international community, but, more importantly, to protect our people and to protect the world.
REPORTER: Sec. Powell, as impassioned as you are and as adamant as you are that you see in, in the inspectors' reports examples of Iraqi non- compliance, many of your colleagues on the Security Council feel equally as strong that there are cases of compliance. The French, the Germans, the Russians have all come out today saying that they think the inspectors should be given more time. How are you and the president planning to convince your colleagues and dissuade them -- persuade them to --
COLIN POWELL: Well, what we're going to do is consult with our colleagues. And I'm sure that the president will be talking to leaders of all these countries, and I will be talking to the ministers. We will consult, just as we did when 1441 was put together in the first instance, and try to come to a collective judgment as to what should be the next steps. And as I say for about the fifth time, in due course, those next steps will be announced. Yes, there are disagreements. There are some who are satisfied with passive cooperation at this point. Passive cooperation is not what 1441 was all about. Dr. Blix, it seems to me, made it rather clear today that he is not getting the kind of cooperation, and Iraq has not made the fundamental choice it has to make: That it is going to be disarmed. Thank you.