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The World | Showdown with Iraq

'What Happened to Nearly 30,000 Munitions?'

January 27, 2003|From Associated Press

Excerpts from Secretary of State Colin L. Powell's speech Sunday to the World Economic Forum, as transcribed by the State Department:

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... I am especially pleased that the theme of this year's gathering is "Building Trust," because trust is a crucial commodity, not only in this but in all eras. I've been here ... long enough to hear directly and from others much of what has been said about the United States over the last two or three days, about whether America can be trusted to use its enormous political, economic and, above all, military power, wisely and fairly.

I believe -- no, I know with all my heart -- that the United States can. I believe no less strongly that the United States has earned the trust of men, women and children around the world.

Let's just go to Afghanistan: 10,000 American soldiers are in that country, helping to create conditions of security. A new government, a new representative government, is in place. We see new roads, new hospitals, new schools.... The same holds true for the people of Kuwait. Twelve years ago, we helped liberate their country....

Americans and Europeans do not always see things the same way in every instance.... Differences are inevitable, but differences should not be equated with American unilateralism or American arrogance. Sometimes differences are just that -- differences.... But the United States will always work, will always endeavor, to get others to join in a consensus.... You can trust us on that.

When we talk about trust, let me use that as a bridge to one of the major issues of the day, Iraq. Let me try to explain why we feel so strongly about Iraq....

We are where we are today with Iraq because Saddam Hussein and his regime have repeatedly violated the trust of the United Nations, his people and his neighbors, to such an extent as to pose a grave danger to international peace and security.

The United Nations Security Council recognized this situation and unanimously passed Resolution 1441, giving Iraq one last chance to disarm peacefully after 11 years of defying the world community....

Resolution 1441 places the burden squarely on Iraq to provide accurate, full and complete information on its weapons of mass destruction.... This is not about inspectors finding smoking guns. It is about Iraq's failure to tell the inspectors where to find its weapons of mass destruction....

After six weeks of inspections, the international community still needs to know the answers to key questions. For example: Where is the evidence ... that Iraq has destroyed the tens of thousands of liters of anthrax and botulinum we know it had before it expelled the previous inspectors? ...

What happened to nearly 30,000 munitions capable of carrying chemical agents? ....

Where are the mobile vans that are nothing more than biological weapons laboratories on wheels? Why is Iraq still trying to procure uranium and the special equipment needed to transform it into material for nuclear weapons? ...

To those who say, "Why not give the inspection process more time?" I ask: "How much more time does Iraq need to answer those questions?"

The more we wait, the more chance there is for this dictator with clear ties to terrorist groups, including Al Qaeda, more time for him to pass a weapon, share a technology, or use these weapons again....

We are in no great rush to judgment tomorrow or the day after, but clearly time is running out.... Saddam Hussein's hidden weapons of mass destruction ... put millions of innocent people at risk.... Saddam's naked defiance also challenges the relevance and credibility of the Security Council and the world community....

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North Korea is another example of a country where trust is at issue. Over the past nine years, the international community engaged North Korea in good faith, with nuclear agreements which we now know Pyongyang violated. At the same time, North Korea's policies have dragged its people into a dark, cold, hungry hell.... The United States is willing to talk to North Korea about how it will meet its obligations to completely dismantle its nuclear weapons program. But this is not just a matter between the United States and North Korea. Pyongyang's behavior affects the stability of both the immediate region and of the world....

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The situation in the Middle East is proving to be among our most challenging, based however on the president's vision, President Bush's vision of two states, living side by side, in peace and security. And with the help of the international community, we and our Quartet partners have drawn up a road map that shows the way to a lasting peace.

To achieve this vision, the Palestinians must build trust by establishing a new and different leadership and new institutions and by putting an end to all terror, all violence. Israel also will be required to build trust by easing the economic plight of ordinary Palestinians and by putting an end to settlement construction.

With intensive effort by all, the creation of a democratic, viable Palestine is possible in 2005....

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For the full text of Powell's speech, go to latimes.com/powelltext.

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