U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell makes a case before the United Nations Security Council, saying Iraq has failed to disarm. VOA TV’s Deborah Block has the story.
Using audio tapes and satellite photographs, Secretary Powell told the U.N. Security Council that Baghdad has ignored demands to rid itself of weapons of mass destruction.
“Iraq never had any intention of complying with this council's mandate. Instead, Iraq planned to use the declaration, overwhelm us and to overwhelm the inspectors with useless information about Iraq's permitted weapons so that we would not have time to pursue Iraq's prohibited weapons. Iraq's goal was to give us, in this room, to give those us on this council the false impression that the inspection process was working."
Secretary Powell showed satellite photographs he said prove Iraq has chemical and biological weapons.
“There can be no doubt that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more. And he has the ability to dispense these lethal poisons and diseases in ways that can cause massive death and destruction.”
The Secretary of State also said the Iraqi leader is trying to obtain aluminum tubes that can be used to make a nuclear bomb.
“Saddam Hussein is determined to get his hands on a nuclear bomb. He is so determined that he has made repeated covert attempts to acquire high-specification aluminum tubes from 11 different countries, even after inspections resumed.”
After the events of September 11, Secretary Powell said the world could not risk the chance Iraq would use weapons of mass destruction.
“The United States will not and cannot run that risk to the American people. Leaving Saddam Hussein in possession of weapons of mass destruction for a few more months or years is not an option, not in a post-September 11th world.”
President George Bush has accused Saddam Hussein of having links to al-Qaida. During his remarks to the U.N. Mr. Powell gave evidence he said shows Iraq supports al-Qaida.
“Ambition and hatred are enough to bring Iraq and al-Qaida together, enough so al-Qaida could learn how to build more sophisticated bombs and learn how to forge documents, and enough so that al-Qaida could turn to Iraq for help in acquiring expertise on weapons of mass destruction.”
During a British television interview the day before Mr. Powell’s U.N. speech, Saddam Hussein denied the claim.
“If we had a relationship with al-Qaida, and believed in that relationship, we would not be ashamed to admit it.”
He also reiterated that Iraq does not have any banned weapons.
“I tell you, as I have said on many occasions before, that Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction whatsoever.”
And he accused Britain and the United States of planning military operations against Iraq to gain control of Middle East oil.
Although President Bush says the United States would act in weeks, and not months, if Iraq continues to drag out the disarming process. He also said recently, for the first time, he would support one more U.N. resolution on Iraq before declaring war.
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH
“Should the United Nations decide to pass a second resolution, it would be welcome, if it is yet another signal that we’re intent upon disarming Saddam Hussein.”
Although Saddam Hussein says Iraqis are capable of defeating their enemies, increased pressure continues as weapons inspectors search for banned weapons of mass destruction. And in Kuwait, just ten kilometers from the border with Iraq, American soldiers are taking part in battle exercises, including urban warfare, to prepare for a possible assault on the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.