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Powell Interview By ITN Television of GB

Powell Interview By ITN Television of Great Britain

Secretary Colin L. Powell Washington, DC January 29, 2003

QUESTION: It looks as if war is inevitable today. Is there any way that war can be avoided in your view?

SECRETARY POWELL: Yeah, very simply. Saddam Hussein has to come into compliance with the will of the international community. He has to do what 1441 -- UN Resolution 1441 -- called upon him to do, and that is --

QUESTION: There's still time for that?

SECRETARY POWELL: Sure there is. He could do it this afternoon if he wanted to.

QUESTION: And what? Go into exile, or?

SECRETARY POWELL: He could do it this afternoon -- I don't, well, that's another issue. But this afternoon, if Saddam Hussein was serious, if he was not the liar that he is, if he was serious and if he understood the crisis that he has brought down upon himself and his people as a result of his developing these weapons of mass destruction, if he was serious, he could stand up and say, "Fine. Let me show you where the mobile biological vans are. We're bringing in all the documents that we have squirreled away in scientists' homes all over the country. We are going to show you where those rockets are. We're going to bring in all of the chemical shells that we've hidden. We're going to bring in everything that we've hidden. We're going to let you have access to anybody you want to talk to, every scientist who's ever been involved in this program. I'm coming clean."

QUESTION: But he's got a matter of days to do that?

SECRETARY POWELL: He s got a short period of time left to do that.

QUESTION: Clearly though, you're making the argument that you'll present to the UN this week in terms of intelligence you've got. What have you got on the other front linking Iraq with al-Qaida and Usama bin Laden?

SECRETARY POWELL: I will be talking to this, as well, in the days ahead and next week in the United Nations. We do have information that suggests that there have been links over the years, and continue to be links, between the Iraqi Government and al-Qaida. And the more we look at this, the more we are able to look back in time and connect things with people who have come into our custody and other information has become available to us. It's clear that there is a link.

I'm not saying there's a 9/11 link. We haven't seen that yet, but I wouldn't rule that out.

QUESTION: Are you going to be able to point to satellite photos, intercepts, say, listen to the intercepts, look at the records and make an irrefutable case? I mean is it going to be this kind of moment?

SECRETARY POWELL: The case, whether it's irrefutable or not is in the eye of the receiver or the ear of the receiver, you might say. But I think the information that I will be presenting, and it'll be varied, I won't raise my curtain yet to tell you exactly what it is, but I think it will reinforce what Dr. Blix and Dr. El Baradei said earlier this week, that they are not getting the cooperation they need, that they are being deceived, that they are being misled, that a number of Iraqi organizations are spending all their time in deception efforts to keep them from the truth.

And we will also point out what we believe is the truth with respect to chemical and biological programs. I think you'll find it to be a straightforward, sober assessment -- nothing theatrical -- but I think we can make the case.

QUESTION: The Russians seem to be coming around to your way of thinking. The Prime Minister Tony Blair wants a second resolution at the UN. Will you now go back for a second resolution authorizing war, or not?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, I took note of what President Putin said, and I noted that what he really was saying -- he was talking to Saddam Hussein -- it's time to come clean. And Russia will preserve its option as to how it will deal with this issue based on what Saddam Hussein does in the near future.

QUESTION: But a second resolution, as the Prime Minister wants?

SECRETARY POWELL: With respect to a second resolution, the President is looking forward to seeing the Prime Minister this Friday. And after consultations with him and the consultations tomorrow with Mr. Berlusconi from Italy and other heads of state and government, we'll make a judgment as to how to proceed -- what the next steps are going to be and then --

QUESTION: So you're not ruling it out? Not ruling it out?

SECRETARY POWELL: Of course not. We couldn't. Quite clearly, a second resolution is an idea that's on the table, and there's a strong school of thought supporting the idea of a second resolution.

QUESTION: This is still, I mean, listening to the President last night, you know, I have the feeling that his mind's made up and that the administration is coming together on this.

This is still a huge decision for George Bush, isn't it? A huge personal decision.

SECRETARY POWELL: It's a huge decision.

QUESTION: It's a huge gamble.

SECRETARY POWELL: It's a huge decision for President Bush, but it's a decision that he is willing to take because he believes it's necessary to protect the world from these kinds of weapons of mass destruction. And there is nothing inevitable about war. But the solid message that President Bush conveyed last night was not a determination to go to war. It was the determination to disarm Saddam Hussein. And if Saddam Hussein was listening carefully, and I'm sure he was, he must understand that he's going to be disarmed one way or the other.

And the President's message was clear. At the same time that he was showing his determination and our willingness to go to war if necessary, he also made it clear that he would be consulting with our friends in the Security Council and elsewhere to see if, in this short period of time remaining, sanity might break out in Baghdad.

QUESTION: Thank you so much. It's lovely to see you. Take care.

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you. [End]

Released on January 29, 2003

© Scoop Media

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