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Arab Media 'Unconvinced' After Powell's UN Presentation on Iraq - 2003-02-06

Newspapers in the Arab world say evidence presented to the U.N. Security Council by Secretary of State Colin Powell was not convincing. The region is calling for weapons inspectors to continue their search for arms of mass destruction in Iraq.

The front page headline in Lebanon's daily Al-Kifah al-Arabia read: "Powell's Proof Lacks Proof."

The Arabic daily Al Arab Al Yawm said Mr. Powell's evidence was "weak and unconvincing," and designed to set the stage for war against Iraq.

The Jordan Times wrote that Mr. Powell's new elements "did not amount to convincing evidence," and said weapons inspectors should be given more time.

Egypt's weekly Al Ahram said the secretary of state presented a "series of dots" that need to be connected, calling Mr. Powell's evidence "circumstantial."

Meanwhile, Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa said the evidence presented to the Security Council was "insufficient."

Mr. Moussa says there are great doubts and the public believes the evidence is not enough. He says the credibility of the information provided by Mr. Powell must be determined by the weapons inspectors who, he says, must "search, dig and verify the facts."

While Mr. Moussa said he believes there is still time to avert war, he said any final determination should be made by the U.N. Security Council, "not independently" by the United States. The secretary-general said the Arab world would continue to intensify efforts to convince the Iraqi government to cooperate more fully with the weapons inspectors.