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Colin Powell Adresses Security Council

Aired January 20, 2003 - 12:08   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: The Secretary of State Colin Powell is speaking in New York.

COLIN POWELL, SECY. OF STATE: ... with Resolution 1441. I'm pleased that it was President Bush who brought this situation to the attention of the council in the most forceful way last September to give them this one last chance, and we must not shrink from our duties and our responsibilities when the material comes before us next week and as we consider Iraq's response to 1441.

And we cannot fail to take the action that may be necessary because we are afraid of what others might do. We cannot be shocked into impotence because we are afraid of the difficult choices that are ahead of us.

And so we will have much work to do, difficult work in the days ahead, but we cannot shrink from the responsibilities of dealing with a regime that has gone about the development, acquiring, stocking of weapons of mass destruction, that has committed terrorist acts against its neighbors and against its own people, trampled the human rights of its own people and its neighbors.

And so however difficult the road ahead may be with respect to Iraq, we must not shrink from the need to travel down that road.

Hopefully, there will be a peaceful solution, but if Iraq does not come into full compliance, we must not shrink from the responsibilities that we set before ourselves when we adopted 1441 on a unanimous basis and so many other nations express their support for 1441.

Weapons of mass destruction in the hands of terrorists or states that support terrorists would represent a mortal danger to us all. We must make the United Nations even more effective. We must build even closer international cooperation to keep these weapons out of the hands of terrorists.

The United Nations has long worked to marshal the international community against terrorism. For example, as we have noted here this morning, there were 12 counterterrorism conventions and protocols negotiated under the auspices of the United Nations and its affiliated agencies.

POWELL: It is vital that all states become parties to all of these conventions and protocols and fully implement them as soon as possible.

With the passage of Security Council 1373 in September 2001, the United Nations fundamentally changed the way the international community responds to terrorism.

Resolution 1373 created an obligation for all member states to work together to deny terrorists the ability to solicit and move funds, to find safe haven, acquire weapons or cross international borders.

Resolution 1373 said that if you are a member of the community of civilized nations, you must do your part to eliminate terrorist networks and terrorist activities.

And as we have seen and as we have discussed here today, Resolution 1373 is starting to have an impact. Most member states have submitted reports to the CTC describing measures they have taken to implement Resolution 1373 and identifying what more needs to be done.

This is a very important step, and as Ambassador Greenstock noted earlier, countries that have not taken this step should comply as quickly as possible.

Those that have should continue to be responsive to a quest (ph) from the counterterrorism committee.

Some countries are eager to implement Resolution 1373 and to take other measures against terrorists, but they lack the necessary skills and resources to do so effectively.

We must help them build up their capabilities. I challenge all nations with counterterrorism expertise to help our willing partners.

Many countries have already stepped up to the challenge. For example, the commonwealth secretariat, France, Australia, Germany, New Zealand and Norway are all providing assistance in areas such as drafting antiterrorist legislation.

For our part, we have more than tripled our capacity-building assistance. Last year alone, our antiterrorism assistance program trained nearly 48,000 security personnel from 60 countries in everything from bomb detection to hostage negotiations, crime scene investigations and the protection of dignitaries.

POWELL: We are also devoting $10 million in the coming year to help strengthen the ability of 18 countries to deny terrorists the funds they need to kill innocent people.

Indeed, the international community has already made impressive progress in freezing terrorist assets. And the United Nations has played the leading role in this unprecedented effort.

For example, the United Nations has designated 324 names for asset freezing. In addition, Security Council Resolutions 1267 and 1390 lay the strong foundation for halting the flow of money to terrorists associated with the Taliban, Al Qaida and Osama bin Laden.

We are particularly pleased that just last Friday, the Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1455. This important new resolution is aimed at improving member state implementation of these sanctions that are targeted at terrorists and without time limits.

The international community could not have sent a stronger message of its determination to stamp out terrorism.

We look forward to working with Ambassador Valdez of Chile as he assumes the chairmanship of the committee established pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1267 to implement the Al Qaida sanctions regime.

This committee has become even more important with the unanimous passage of Resolution 1455. But we all need to do more, and we need to coordinate our efforts better.

Many international organizations at regional and subregional level are already working to counter the terrorist threat.

These organizations have an important role to play in helping their member states fulfill their counterterrorism obligations.

Now is the time for these groups to talk to each other, to exchange information and coordinate their activities for maximum effect.

The counterterrorism committee is taking a good first step by convening a meeting these March to bring many of these organizations together.

Colleagues, friends, the challenge before us is to weave counterterrorism into the very fabric of our national institutions and our international institutions. We must rise to the challenge -- we must rise to the challenge with actions that will rid the globe of terrorism and create a world in which all God's children can live without fear.

Thank you.

BLITZER: Colin Powell addressing the United Nations Security Council speaking on the issue of terrorism, but also speaking out forcefully on the situation involving Iraq, saying hopefully, a war can be avoided, but also going on to say pointedly that the United Nations cannot shirk from its responsibility, in his words, if the Iraqis do not fully comply, also saying the U.S. cannot be shown to be impotent if the Iraqis do not fully comply with Security Council resolution 1441 that was passed in November.

CNN's Michael Okwu is over at the United Nations, following the activities of the secretary of state. Is he generating much support so far, at least visibly, for the hardline U.S. stance, Michael?

MICHAEL OKWU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, it certainly appears to be that way. A U.S. official and other Western diplomats we have spoken to today say that Secretary Powell has been pushing the administration line throughout the course of the day today, saying quite emphatically to some of those foreign ministers that time is running out for Saddam Hussein, and in fact, repeating the fact that what the administration has been saying for quite some time now, that that January 27th report by Hans Blix may be viewed by the administration as the beginning of the final stage of dealing with Saddam Hussein and Iraq diplomatcally.

We also understand from some of these sources that the foreign ministers that Powell spoke to are in widespread agreement that Iraq is not doing as much as it could do, despite some of the agreements coming out of Baghdad today, saying quite forcefully, that this is something that the Iraqis should have been doing when this resolution was adopted; to wait now, weeks after inspectors have been there, might not just be enough.

But you heard Powell speaking. He was here initially, ostensibly to talk about a resolution on international terrorism, a resolution that essentially is, Wolf, a fine tuning of a resolution passed back in November 2001, in the wake of 9/11.

But clearly, Powell using this as an opportunity, Wolf, to talk about what the unofficial focus is here at the United Nations, and that again is Iraq -- Wolf.

BLITZER: And one week from today, as you point out, Michael, the chief inspectors will be making their report, their updated report. They're insisting this is not a deadline. It's merely a status report. You heard the Defense Secretary of the United States, Donald Rumsfeld, earlier saying it shouldn't take months to find out whether the Iraqis are cooperating, but the inspectors have said it could take months. There seems to be a daylight between what we're hearing from the inspectors Blix and Elbaradei on the one hand and the Bush administration on the other.

OKWU: Well, this has been the tension, if you will, that's been in existence now for some weeks. The United States does not want to sit around for a long time to get a resolution on this, but other members of the Security Council have been saying, sometimes directly and indirectly, that they want to give the inspectors a chance, that these inspection regimes take time to actually work through their process, and then to eventually develop relationships with government officials in Baghdad, and then eventually to find things.

There's also a feeling, a sense here, Wolf, that you should not do anything before the 27th, that now that the Iraqis seem to be complying a little bit and the inspectors are getting a lot more tough, that this regime is getting much more difficult for the officials in Bagdhad, that it could just be a matter of time that things could change very easily within seven days, and that is the Iraqis could very well slip up or the inspectors might find something -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Michael Okwu at the United Nations, covering all this for us. Thanks, Michael, very much.


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