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Powell Says Iraq Presentation to UN Will Be 'Compelling' - 2003-02-03

Secretary of State Colin Powell is preparing what he says will be a "compelling" presentation to the U.N. Security Council Wednesday, including the release of highly-classified information, to bolster the case that Iraq is not complying with last November's disarmament resolution.

Officials here say Mr. Powell is still in the process of pouring over U.S. intelligence material to choose what he will make public during Wednesday's critical briefing to the Security Council.

But his spokesman, Richard Boucher, says the presentation will make it clear to "anyone with an open mind" that the Iraqis are failing to comply with key Security Council resolution 1441.

"This presentation we think will be compelling," he said. "It will be a straightforward explanation of the facts, and we think an explanation that will reinforce the conclusion that the inspectors have been forced to draw, the facts that the inspectors have been forced to report to the council, Iraq is not cooperating. Iraq is concealing evidence. Iraq is trying to preserve its weapons of mass destruction. And so, I think, it will go a long way to bolstering that case, to making clear the facts, as we think they already are clear."

It's understood the secretary's presentation will include aerial surveillance photos and transcripts of intercepted conversations, reinforcing charges that Iraq has been playing a game of hide-and-seek with inspectors, sanitizing suspect sites and moving banned materials just ahead of the arrival of U.N. teams.

In a Wall Street Journal commentary Monday, Mr. Powell said he will not have so-called "smoking gun" evidence, yet will reinforce the case that Iraq has been engaged in a "pattern of deception."

He also said the United States continues to seek Iraq's peaceful disarmament, but "will not shrink from war" if that is the only way to rid Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction.

Mr. Powell goes to New York on the eve of the presentation, and will have bilateral meetings before and after Wednesday's event with foreign ministers of the other permanent Security Council member states and others.