U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell says he comes to the World Economic Forum in Switzerland with the message that Iraq must disarm or face serious consequences.
Secretary Powell says he has come to the World Economic Forum to hear from his colleagues, but also to deliver a message of American resolve to see Iraq disarmed of weapons of mass destruction. He says Iraq has not provided information on biological and chemical agents, weapons of delivery, chemical shells, nuclear programs and documents. "They are deadly serious matters, because each item I have just touched on has the potential to kill thousands upon thousands of innocent human beings," he said. "This is not the time for the international community, for the United Nations to step back from the solemn responsibilities it took in [Security Council Resolution] 1441 to disarm Iraq."
Mr. Powell says that U.N. Security Council resolution 1441 has placed the burden on Iraq to disarm, not on the U.N. inspectors to chase around the country searching for banned weapons. He says the members of the Security Council committed themselves to see this task through to the end. "It is the message that everybody signed up to when they voted unanimously for 1441, and we cannot now start shrinking, because the going is getting tough," said Colin Powell. "The burden is on Iraq. Iraq must comply, or it will be made to comply with military force."
Secretary Powell notes the Davos Forum coincides with other important events next week, primarily the U.N. inspectors' report to the Security Council and President Bush's State of the Union address. He says after these actions, President Bush will consult with other heads of state and government to determine the appropriate next steps.