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Interview By TVE Television of Spain

Interview By TVE Television of Spain

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

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, thank you for seeing us.

SECRETARY POWELL: Good morning.

QUESTION: Good morning. Sorry for the question, but what's the rush? What's the urgency for concerning the Iraq threat?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, I don't think it's a rush. It's been going on for 12 years. For 12 years, Saddam Hussein has ignored the will of the international community. And last fall, the international community came together at the United Nations and with Resolution 1441 and said, "Enough. You must now comply with the will of the international community."

And the inspectors went back in, and what we have seen so far from Iraq is continued disobedience. We have seen a false declaration which nobody thinks is anywhere near accurate. We have seen the inspectors kept from doing their work. We see deception. We see them trying to hide things. We see them trying to control what the inspectors do.

So the question should be really how much more time do we need to see that Saddam Hussein is not cooperating. More than that, he is not disarming. If we thought he was disarming and we were all comfortable that we could trust that Saddam Hussein is really serious this time, then the inspectors could be given as much time as necessary. But that's not what we are seeing.

And so if we want to avoid this crisis, the simple way to do that is for Saddam Hussein to disarm and let the inspectors verify the disarmament. It's not a question of more time for inspectors. It's a question of how much more time for Saddam Hussein to realize the seriousness of this matter and to comply with the UN resolution.

QUESTION: Do you think it is possible now he will disarm?

SECRETARY POWELL: It remains to be seen. I know there are different views within the Council, and next week I will be presenting intelligence information that will illustrate the problems that Dr. Blix and Dr. El Baradei have had with Saddam Hussein. And that's the principal purpose of my presentation next week, not only to show evidence of what he has, but how he has been trying to keep this information from the inspectors.

And I hope that my colleagues in the Council will examine my presentation, the information I provide, and I hope others will present information, and then we will have time to discuss this and make a judgment. And perhaps there will be unity, perhaps not. But one way or the other, Saddam Hussein must be disarmed.

QUESTION: Are you looking for a limited period of time now?

SECRETARY POWELL: We're looking at all sorts of options. I wouldn't prejudge what the United States might do or what the Council might do. I think that what we have said that seems pretty straightforward is that the President, President Bush, will be consulting with heads of state and government in the next few days, and we'll make our presentation next week. And then we can see what the Council decides is appropriate and we'll make a judgment as to what the United States believes it should do.

QUESTION: And why didn't the Americans show the proof of chemical arms and everything before?

SECRETARY POWELL: We have been putting out information for a long period of time. It's not just the Americans. Everybody keeps looking at the Americans. It's the inspectors who have said, back in 1998, he has not told us where the anthrax is, he has not told us where the botulinum is, he has not destroyed all of the warheads, he has not shown us where all of these warheads are, these missiles are, these artillery shells are.

Everybody keeps pointing to the Americans as the ones who -- why are you doing this, why are you picking on this poor guy? This poor guy murders people with biological weapons. If he has the ability to do so and if he can deliver them, he would do so. He has already done it with chemical weapons. The world should be outraged that this man, this dictator, continues to develop this kind of material.

And it is not just an American charge. It is a charge that comes from the inspectors who were there before and it is a charge that comes from the inspectors now, who say he is not coming forward with the information they need to do their job.

QUESTION: Which kind of links have al-Qaida and Iraq?

SECRETARY POWELL: We believe -- and I will talk to this next week -- that there have been links between al-Qaida and Iraq. There have been contacts over the years and there may be al-Qaida presence in Iraq.

QUESTION: How can you describe the relationship with the Spanish Government?

SECRETARY POWELL: Our relationship with the Spanish Government is excellent. President Bush and President Aznar speak on the phone regularly. When they are together at meetings, it is always a very, very warm relationship that they have.

But we understand that President Aznar is a representative of the Spanish people, elected by the Spanish people to make judgments as to what is in the best interest of Spain and the best interest of the world. And we are quite confident that President Aznar will make those judgments as we go forward. But we look at Spain and see a strong friend, a very, very good friend.

QUESTION: Thank you very much.

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you. [End]

Released on January 29, 2003

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