Colin L. Powell

March 08, 2003

The following are excerpts of Secretary of State Colin L. Powell's remarks to the U.N. Security Council.

We meet today, it seems to me, with one question and one very, very important question before us: Has the Iraqi regime made the fundamental strategic and political decision to comply with the United Nations Security Council resolutions and to rid itself of all of its weapons of mass destruction, all of the infrastructure for the development of weapons of mass destruction? It's a question of intent on the part of the Iraqi leadership.

The answer to that question does not come from how many inspectors are present or how much more time should be given or how much more effort should be put into the inspection process.

It's not a question of how many unanswered clusters of questions are there or are there more benchmarks that are needed or are there enough unresolved issues that have been put forward to be examined and analyzed and conclusions reached about. The answer depends entirely on whether Iraq has made the choice to actively cooperate in every possible way, in every possible manner in the immediate and complete disarmament of itself of its prohibited weapons. That's what 1441 calls for ... .

Iraq is still refusing to offer what was called for by 1441: immediate, active and unconditional cooperation. Not later, immediate. Not passive, active. Not conditional, unconditional in every respect. Unfortunately, in my judgment, despite some of the progress that has been mentioned, I still find what I have heard this morning a catalog still of noncooperation.

If Iraq genuinely wanted to disarm, we would not have to be worrying about setting up means of looking for mobile biological units or any units of that they kind; they would be presented to us. We would not need an extensive program to search for and look for underground facilities that we know exist. The very fact that we must make these requests seems to me to show that Iraq is still not cooperating. ...

We know that the Iraqis still are not volunteering information, and when they do, what they are giving is often partial and misleading. We know that when confronted with facts, the Iraqis still are changing their story to explain those facts, but not enough to give us the truth.

So has the strategic decision been made to disarm Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction by the leadership in Baghdad? In my judgment, I think our judgment has to be clearly not. And this is now the reality we, the council, must deal with ... .

Last November, this council stepped up to its responsibilities. We must not walk away. We must not find ourselves here this coming November with the pressure removed and with Iraq once again marching down the merry path to weapons of mass destruction, threatening the region, threatening the world ... .

Now is the time for the council to tell Saddam that the clock has not been stopped by his stratagems and his machinations. We believe that the resolution that has been put forward for action by this council is appropriate and in the very near future we should bring it before this council for a vote. The clock continues to tick. And the consequences of Saddam Hussein's continued refusal to disarm will be very, very real.

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