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US Will Take Action Against Iraq With, or Without UN Support, Says Powell - 2002-10-18

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell says the United States will take action against Iraq with or without support from United Nations.

Mr. Powell warned that if the United Nations fails to take a tough stand against Iraq, the United States is prepared to step in. "And if the United Nations does not act, the United States, joined by other nations, willing nations, must act and we will act," he said.

Last week, the U.S. Congress authorized President Bush to use force against Iraq if necessary.

Now, as the Security Council along with the entire U.N. membership discuss how to disarm Iraq, Mr. Powell is calling for a resolution that will enable arms inspectors to effectively do their job. "We need a tough new resolution that will send the inspectors back in with the authority to do their job and disarm Iraq," said Colin Powell. "It is not for Iraq to dictate the conditions to the United Nations but for the United Nations to dictate the conditions to Iraq."

Although Mr. Powell offered tough words about Iraq, he did not address the State Department's diplomatic efforts that followed North Korea's admission that it is developing nuclear weapons, violating a 1994 accord.

However, the Secretary of State, who was speaking in New York City, discussed the lessons learned from the September 11 terrorist attacks on the importance of targeting rogue states. "September 11 taught us that threats gathering in distant places like Afghanistan, North Korea or Iraq can pose very real and present dangers," he said. "And in an age where terrorists and tyrants try in every way to acquire weapons of mass destruction, we must do all that we can to confront them decisively before a catastrophe strikes."

Mr. Powell, who was raised and educated in New York City, made his comments at the 57th Alfred E. Smith dinner, one of New York's the most important bipartisan political gatherings.

The annual event salutes the late-New York governor Alfred E. Smith, who was the first Catholic to run for president in the United States. This year, the dinner, which is run by the Catholic diocese and is attended by prominent religious leaders of several faiths, honored the powerful head of the New York Archdiocese, Cardinal Edward Egan.