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Powell Expects UN Resolution on Iraq Soon - 2002-09-16

Secretary of State Colin Powell, continuing Iraq consultations at the United Nations, says he's encouraged about prospects for a new Security Council resolution demanding that Baghdad give up weapons of mass destruction. The secretary of state is having a full day of meetings in New York with visiting foreign ministers, including his counterparts from Egypt and Syria.

Mr. Powell says he thinks the "political dynamic" on Iraq has changed, following President Bush's U.N. speech last week, and that pressure is growing on Baghdad to comply with the U.N. resolutions it has spurned for more than a decade.

In comments to reporters in between meetings at the U.N., Mr. Powell said he expects a new Security Council resolution soon.

"We have always wanted implementation of all United Nations resolutions," he said. "And there will be, in the not too distant future, I hope, a new resolution from the United Nations that I think will capture all the violations of the last 11 years. And we'll see whether or not Iraq understands the seriousness of the position it is in, and whether it will respond to this direction from the Security Council."

Asked if the emerging resolution will threaten Iraq with consequences, if it doesn't comply, Mr. Powell said he is encouraged by what he has heard thus far from Security Council members. But he said that talks are at an early stage, and delegates "are just now starting" to discuss the language of the statement.

In his U.N. policy speech last week, President Bush said military action against Iraq would be "unavoidable," if it defied the will of the international community again.

U.S. officials say the Bush administration wants the new resolution to set a short deadline for Iraqi compliance, and that they hope the measure can be drafted and adopted within "a couple of weeks."

As a sign of changing momentum on the Iraq issue, the officials point to remarks Sunday by Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal, who strongly indicated his country would back military action against Baghdad, if the United Nations approved it.

In his talk with reporters, Secretary Powell called the Saudi comments "forthcoming," while also saying there has been no talk yet of attacks, or the possible use of bases in Saudi Arabia or elsewhere.

Mr. Powell's list of meetings Monday included the foreign ministers of countries that would be pivotal in decisions on Iraq, including Egypt's Ahmed Maher and Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk Shara.

In addition to sharing a long border with Iraq, Syria is currently among the non-permanent members of the Security Council.