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Powell Firm on Iraq Resolution at APEC Forum - 2002-10-24


U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell is in Los Cabos, Mexico for the meeting of the 21-nation Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, known as APEC. Mr. Powell began his visit with stern words about the effort to produce a United Nations Security Council resolution on Iraq.

In comments to reporters upon arrival at the APEC meeting site, Mr. Powell said the United States is ready to listen to the concerns of others on the U.N. Security Council, but that it cannot accept what he called "another pointless resolution." He said any resolution produced by the U.N. body must present Iraq with consequences for failing comply with weapons inspections.

The subject of terrorism is also a major topic here at the APEC meeting, which is normally focussed on economics. In a joint appearance with Mexican Foreign Minister Jorge Castaneda Wednesday before a group of college students, Mr. Powell linked the fight against terrorism to economic development. "Societies that are growing, societies that are happy tend to not foster individuals who will be that disoriented and that disenchanted," he said. "Societies that are stable because there is trade and there is democracy, those societies will not tolerate terrorist activities within their midst."

In that same forum with college students from all over the Americas, Mr. Powell and Mr. Castaneda restated their interest in pursuing a bilateral immigration agreement. Mr. Castaneda said such an agreement, which would provide legal status to hundreds of thousands of Mexican immigrants who have gone to the United States seeking work, could be a model for the world. The effort to produce such an agreement was sidetracked by the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11 of last year.

Over the next two days, Mr. Powell will meet with other foreign ministers and officials from APEC member nations to discuss a variety of issues. President Bush is scheduled to arrive here in Los Cabos on Saturday for the summit portion of the meeting.

Meeting organizers are concerned about the possible arrival of an uninvited guest. Hurricane Kenna is heading northward towards this resort area on the tip of the Baja California peninsula. Weather forecasters say the storm is not expected to hit the Los Cabos area directly, but that it could still produce strong winds and rain here on the weekend.