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'Day of Reckoning' Approaching for Iraq, Says Powell - 2003-03-13

Secretary of State Colin Powell says a draft U.N. resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq might be withdrawn if there appears to be no hope of avoiding a French veto. Appearing before a House subcommittee, Mr. Powell said whatever happens in the U.N. Security Council, a "day of reckoning" is approaching for Saddam Hussein.

Mr. Powell says diplomatic bargaining continues on a draft resolution that could win Security Council approval. But he told the House panel that with France intent on casting a veto regardless of the language, pulling back the resolution is an option that will be examined by the Bush administration over the next few days.

"We are still talking to the members of the council to see what is possible with respect to coalescing around a position that wouldn't draw a veto," he said. "But the options remain: go for a vote and see what members say, or not go for vote. But all the options that you can imagine are before us, and we'll be examining them today, tomorrow and into the weekend."

The secretary said the United States is committed to disarming Saddam Hussein, peacefully if possible, but through a military coalition if necessary, and said a "day of reckoning" for Saddam Hussein is fast approaching.