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Powell Remarks With Dr. Hans Blix UNMOVIC

Powell Remarks With Dr. Hans Blix UNMOVIC


Dr. Hans Blix, Executive Chairman, United Nations Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission and Dr. Mohamed El Baradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency

Secretary Colin L. Powell Washington, DC October 4, 2002

(6:00 p.m. EDT)

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. We've just completed an excellent set of discussions with Dr. Blix and Dr. El Baradei of the IAEA and of UNMOVIC. As you know, they briefed the Security Council yesterday on their discussions in Vienna with the Iraqi Government on how to move forward with inspections, and we were anxious to hear from both of them as to how those discussions went.

I reaffirmed to them that it was our intention to support them to the fullest, and we think the best way to support their efforts is with a new UN Security Council resolution setting out very tough standards and conditions for the conduct of new inspections. I think we have an agreement that such a resolution would be useful, and I think increasingly the members of the Council are coming to the conclusion that such a resolution would be useful.

There are a number of other issues outstanding with respect to the nature of that resolution and those discussions will continue between myself and my colleagues on the Security Council.

I want to express my appreciation to my two gentlemen here for their being with us today and for their dedication to this work, and it is our intention to support them fully. And so I would ask each of them to say a word and then we'll be able to take one or two questions.

Dr. Blix.

DR. BLIX: All right. We have recently been in Vienna and discussed with the Iraqi representatives on practical arrangements concerning inspection. We know from long experience that the devil sits in the details and we have been able to clarify quite a number of them. There are still some loose ends which will need to be settled and the Security Council resolution that is now being discussed is one that I think we would welcome. It could clarify further matters and it will also put -- place the Iraqis clearly before the need to give a clear declaration of what they have. So we welcome that effort. I had the impression also that in the Council there was very broad support for having a new resolution.

SECRETARY POWELL: Dr. El Baradei.

DR. EL BARADEI: We, I think, made it clear in our consultation in the Security Council that we need full backing of the Security Council. We have made some good progress on the practical arrangements to go back to Iraq in Vienna, but we need the full backing and support of the Security Council.

I think we had very good, constructive discussion with the Council yesterday and we had excellent meeting with Secretary Powell and his colleagues here today. We all agree that the endgame should be a complete disarmament of Iraq and that's the common objective we all working for.

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you very much. George Gedda. Yes, George.

QUESTION: Dr. Blix was ready to move advance people in, at least, by, you know, mid -- a little past mid-October. Do you think there will be a new resolution in time to go ahead with those arrangements?

SECRETARY POWELL: I don't know when we will have a new resolution. As I have said since we began this process on the 12th of September, I think it was a matter of weeks, not months. And so I don't want to put a timeline on it.

And I will let Dr. Blix speak to the other half of that question. But I think it would be more appropriate for the team to wait for the new resolution, and I cannot tell you how long it would take. And Dr. Blix may want to add a word to that.

DR. BLIX: Well, we hope that the path will not be very long to a new resolution, and the convergence that we began to see yesterday I think is a hopeful one. But I also explain to everybody that it would be somewhat awkward for us to go in and then find that a new resolution was coming there which would call for us -- ask us to do something more or different which would require other practical arrangements.

So we look forward to a speedy negotiation of a resolution and for us to come in very shortly thereafter.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, we've heard you stress, put emphasis, on the need for a one resolution solution and we know very well that the French, for instance, oppose that. Is there any likelihood that at the end of the day, to get to a compromise, we would see the United States accept a two resolution solution?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, we still believe a one resolution solution is the better way to go. The reason we have seen any movement on the Iraqi side in the last three weeks is because of the pressure that's been put upon them. They're not doing this out of the goodness of their hearts or because suddenly they realize they had to come clean; it's pressure, and one resolution keeps that pressure on.

I do understand the position of the French Government and some of the other members of the Security Council with respect to the concept of two resolutions, and we're in consultations with them. We're in a consultative process. They have their point of view, we have our point of view, and we'll try to find a way to resolve these different points of view.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, this is for Mr. Secretary and Dr. Blix. Could you talk a little bit more about what this -- what more authority this resolution would give Dr. Blix to conduct the kind of inspections he needs to conduct and whether it centers around the consequences?

Dr. Blix, do you think you need a resolution that has tough consequences in order to conduct your work?

Thank you.

DR. BLIX: I think it is clear that there has to be constant pressure to keep the Iraqis to comply with the resolution. There was an erosion over the years in the past. So that has to be there, but exactly the formulation of that, whether it is one resolution or two, this I think that we leave to them. We have not much influence on that.

SECRETARY POWELL: We want to make sure that the new resolution demands access to all sites without any conditions that would hamper the work of the inspectors. There has been an erosion of the inspection regime in recent years, as Dr. Blix just said, and we have got to fix that, correct it, and make sure that Iraq is not given any opportunity to frustrate the work of the inspections teams if they go in.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, what do you make of the position of Russia, which seems to be fluctuating between saying they're looking -- they're sympathetic to the US draft and saying they don't even believe there should be a new resolution? With your relationship with Igor, you must have a pretty good inside line on this.

SECRETARY POWELL: Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and I are in constant communication. I spoke to him again yesterday. And they understand our point of view and I understand their point of view, and we'll find a way to resolve -- I'm confident we'll find a way to resolve -- any differences that exist.

This is a negotiation. It's a very complex one. It's a very intricate one. There are 15 Security Council members who have an equity in this. They are all sovereign nations with a point of view, and we have to listen to all those points of view and find a way to go forward. But I am optimistic as this week has gone by because of the kind of presentations that were made by these two gentlemen to the Security Council and an understanding on the part of the Security Council that if inspectors are going to go back in, they have to go back in without any restrictions on what they are able to do and there has to be pressure maintained on the Iraqi regime through the likelihood of action taken if they try to frustrate this inspection regime the way they have other inspection regimes in the past.

Yes, last one.

QUESTION: (Not in English)

DR. AL BARADEI: Well, we have been out of Iraq for four years. We have to go back, and go back quickly, to make sure that Iraq has not revived its nuclear weapon program. Our role is to disarm Iraq and continue monitoring the Iraqi activities to make sure that Iraq's clandestine nuclear program will not be revived. That is our clear objective to go back.

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you.

QUESTION: (Not in English)

DR. BLIX: (Not in English)

SECRETARY POWELL: I agree.

(Laughter.)

(The Secretary escorts the gentlemen to their cars.)

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, can you say if there were any decisions made on practical things that the US could to do help the inspectors?

SECRETARY POWELL: It was a subject of discussion and I don't have anything I want to add at this point. We were trying to make sure they understood that we were trying to be as helpful as possible to assist in accomplishing the mission, as I am sure that all Security Council members will try to do.

[End]

Released on October 4, 2002


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