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Initial Security Council Reactions to US Address

USA’s Address and Initial Security Council Reactions

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The United States Secretary of State Colin Powell says Iraq still poses a threat and remains in material breach of UN Security Council resolutions. Powell presented satellite photographs and transcripts of intercepted communications to the UN Security Council in an effort to convince the world of the need for action against Iraq. He says Iraq's pattern of behaviour shows the regime is concealing efforts to produce more weapons of mass destruction - a development he describes as "deeply troubling."

"The facts on Iraq's behaviour demonstrate that Saddam Hussein and his regime have made no effort, no effort to disarm as required by the international community."

Mr. Powell says information and intelligence gathered point to an effort by the Iraqi regime to keep key materials and people from UN inspectors. He says this deliberate campaign to prevent any meaningful inspection work is in direct violation of the Security Council resolution that sent the weapons inspectectors back to Baghad.

"By this standard, I believe that Iraq is now in further material breach. I believe this conclusion is irrefutable and undeniable. Iraq has now placed itself in danger of the serious consequences called for in resolution 1441."

Secretary of State Colin Powell warns that the UN places itself in danger of irrelevance if it allows Iraq to continue to defy its will without responding effectively and immediately.

"The issue before us is not how much more time we are willing to give the inspectors to be frustrated by Iraqi obstruction, but how much longer are we willing to put up with Iraq's non-compliance before we say enough."

Mr. Powell also accused Iraq of having mobile biological weapons factories on trucks.

Blix: No Signs of Mobile Labs Detected

That allegation comes a day after chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix told reporters that his inspectors had not detected any mobile labs moving weapons of mass destruction.

"We have not seen any signs of things moved around, tracks in. We've taken a lot of samples and if there had been things there, the samples might give some notion."

Dr. Blix is due in Baghdad this weekend for two days of talks prior to his next report to the UN Security Council, due on 14 February.

China Calls for a Political Settlement

China says that as long as there is still the slightest hope for a political settlement, the Council should exert its utmost effort to achieve that. Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan says the American presentation represented transparency.

And he hopes States with such information and evidence would hand them over to the UN monitoring commission and the UN nuclear agency to assist them in their on-the-spot investigations. Speaking through an interpreter, Foreign Minister Jiaxuan called on the Council to respect the call of the two agencies for more time to complete their work.

"We urge Iraq to adopt a more proactive approach, make further explanations and clarification as soon as possible and cooperate with the inspection process.”

The Chinese Foreign Minister says it is the desire of the international community to see a political settlement to the issue of Iraq. All members of the Council will make statements later before Iraq is allowed to respond.

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