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Powell Interview on TF-1 Television of France

Interview on TF-1 Television of France

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

QUESTION: President Bush said yesterday that the United States course doesn't depend on orders. Does it mean that the United States could go to war without the approval of the Security Council of the UN?

SECRETARY POWELL: The President has always said that he believes the danger from the Iraqi regime is such that we have to preserve the option of using military force with likeminded nations -- other nations would join us in such a cause -- even in the absence of additional UN authority. We believe, frankly, that in 1441, that resolution, and in earlier resolutions, there is more than adequate authority to make the case that Saddam's continued violation of international law is sufficient cause to go to war.

But because the world was so interested in unifying, seeing if we could unify behind this, we took it back to the UN last fall. And after seven weeks of very tough negotiations, we came out with Resolution 1441, giving Saddam Hussein one more chance to get out of the breach that he is already in.

And that resolution is very important because everybody who signed up for that resolution, all 15 nations, to include France, said he is in material breach, we're giving him one last chance, the inspectors help him take that one last chance, and it if he doesn't comply, then serious consequences will follow. And those serious consequences, everybody who signed up, everybody who voted for that resolution, understood that serious consequences meant the likelihood of war.

QUESTION: And next week, you're going to go to the Security Council. What kind of proof, what kind of intelligence, are you going to provide?

SECRETARY POWELL: I will be bringing information and intelligence, some of which has not been seen before, that will help make the case that Dr. Blix was presenting the other day that Saddam Hussein is trying to deny the inspectors access to weapons of mass destruction capacity within Iraq, and I will also be presenting information and intelligence that describes some of these programs and some of these weapons.

QUESTION: Like what?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, would you be kind enough to wait till next Wednesday?

QUESTION: And in France, at the moment, 60% -- more than 70% of the population is against the war. Do you think that France could use its veto at the Security Council, and did you think about this importance?

SECRETARY POWELL: France is a sovereign nation and I would not presume to suggest what President Chirac might decide to do. I hope that whatever decision France makes, it will be in light of the seriousness of this problem, in light of the danger posed by Saddam Hussein and these weapons of mass destruction.

France fully understands and the French leadership fully understands the danger. They participated in the preparation of 1441. They were one of the leaders in shaping 1441. And my French colleagues, and especially my colleague Dominique de Villepin, clearly understood that serious consequences might flow.

I understand that there is strong public opposition, but I hope that as we go forward in this next period of time and more information is presented and Saddam Hussein continues to essentially disregard the will of the international community, that the people of France will understand that there comes a time when this kind, this kind of behavior cannot simply be ignored and looked away from; one must take action.

And when that time comes, I hope France will look at its situation carefully and will be able to support whatever action is required. But I fully understand the French position at the moment.

QUESTION: How much time are you ready to give to the inspectors?

SECRETARY POWELL: It's not how much time for the inspectors. People keep saying give the inspectors more time. More time to do what? Search in the dark? More time to be deceived by Saddam Hussein? That's not the right question.

The right question is: How much more time do we give Saddam Hussein? If he were to come out this afternoon and say, "I'm now going to tell the truth, here's where the biological weapons are, here are where the chemical rounds are, here is the rest of my nuclear program, here are the documents, here are all the people you want to interview," if he were to do that, then how much time the inspectors need almost doesn't make any difference. Give them as much time as they say they need to verify that they have destroyed all this material.

But the problem is he is not doing that. He continues to deceive. He continues to deny. And my colleague --

QUESTION: Do you have the proof -- do you have the proof that he has everything --

SECRETARY POWELL: Mr. Blix said so. Mr. Blix said so. It's not the United States. Mr. Blix said so on Monday that he is not cooperating. He's had some passive cooperation, but he continues to not accept the responsibility to disarm.

And so my friends on the Security Council and elsewhere in the world who keep saying give the inspectors more time, give the inspectors more time, what's wrong with more time for the inspectors, the answer to that question simply is more time for the inspectors has to be linked to positive action on the part of the Iraqis to show what they've got, and not just have the inspectors wandering around in the dark looking for things. Turn on the lights. Show us what you have. Be serious.

And for those who say, well, we'll just look away and ignore this danger, I think it is a danger that cannot be ignored. As the President said last night, we would be devastated years from now, next year, the year after, if one day, in Paris or in Washington, D.C., or in London or in Cairo -- anywhere -- suddenly one of these chemical rounds showed up as a terrorist weapon and we wondered why we didn't deal with it in the year 2003.

QUESTION: Thank you very much.


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