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Powell: US Wants UN Weapons Inspector Deadline Soon For Iraq - 2002-09-14

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell says any new United Nations resolution on Iraq must contain a tight deadline for the return of arms inspectors to the country. Mr. Powell met with the 15 members of the Security Council Friday to try to forge a common strategy toward Baghdad.

Secretary Powell indicated that there is still no agreement in the Security Council on the elements of a new U.N. resolution on Iraq. But he made clear that whatever emerges must be tougher than previous resolutions, and must contain a deadline for Iraq to comply.

"The one thing that I'm reasonably sure of is that whatever resolution we do come up with must have a deadline to it," he said. "It cannot be a resolution such as the resolutions in the past, where they are issued and there is no subsequent action to comply or to be made to comply with the terms of the resolution."

Secretary Powell called his meetings with ministers in the Security Council a good beginning to a dialogue. He said they all understood that the United Nations had to meet the challenge of Iraq's defiance on the weapons issue. "They understand that we cannot continue in this manner. And I promised them that the United States would be engaged with each one of the 15 members of the Security Council in the days and weeks ahead," he added.

There has been universal support for President Bush's announcement in New York Thursday that the United States would work through the Security Council, though Mr. Bush implied in his remarks that Washington would be prepared to act alone if the Council fails to take a tougher stand toward Iraq.

Russian foreign minister Igor Ivanov, in comments after a meeting with European ministers, demanded Iraq cooperate with the United Nations or face the consequences. But he stopped short of endorsing military action to force compliance. That seems to be the majority position among government leaders attending the General Assembly meeting, from Australia and China to most of Europe and Canada.