Transcript of Powell Remarks at U.N.

ByABC News
February 14, 2003, 3:53 PM

Feb. 14 -- Secretary of State Colin Powell said more arms inspections "are not the answer" to the Iraq crisis. Following is a transcript of his remarks at the United Nations today.

Thank you very much, Mr. President. Mr. President, Mr. Secretary-General, distinguished members of the council, it's a great pleasure to be here with you again to consider this very important matter. And I'm very pleased to be here as the secretary of state of a relatively new country on the face of the earth, but I think I can take some credit sitting here as being a representative of the oldest democracy that is assembled here around this table.

I'm proud of that. A democracy that believes in peace, a nation that has tried in the course of its history to show how people can live in peace with one another, but a democracy that has not been afraid to meet its responsibilities on the world stage when it has been challenged; more importantly, when others in the world have been challenged or when the international order has been challenged or when the international institutions of which we are a part have been challenged.

That's why we have joined and been active members of institutions such as the United Nations and a number of other institutions that have come together for the purpose of peace and for the purpose of mutual security and for the purpose of letting other nations which pursue a path of destruction, which pursue paths of developing weapons of mass destruction which threaten their neighbors, to let them know that we will stand tall, we will stand together, to meet these kinds of challenges.

I want to express my appreciation to Dr. Blix and Dr. ElBaradei for their presentation this morning. They took up a difficult challenge when they went back into Iraq last fall in pursuit of disarmament, as required by Resolution 1441. And I listened very attentively to all they said this morning and I am pleased that there have been improvements with respect to process. I'm pleased that there have been improvements with respect to not having five minders with each inspector, down to something less than five minders with each inspector. But I think they still are being minded, they are still being watched, they are still being bugged. They still do not have the freedom of access around Iraq that they need to do their job well.

I am pleased that a few people have come forward for interviews, but not all the people who should be coming forward for interviews, and with the freedom to interview them in a manner that their safety can be protected and the safety of their families can be protected, as required by U.N. Resolution 1441.

I am glad that access has been relatively good. But that is all process; it is not substance. I am pleased to hear that decrees have now been issued that should have been issued years and years ago. But does anybody really think a decree from Saddam Hussein, directed to whom, is going to fundamentally change the situation? And it comes out on a morning when we are moving forward down the path laid out by Resolution 1441.

These are all process issues. These are all tricks that are being played on us. And to say that new commissions are being formed that will go find materials that they claim are not there in the first place, can anybody honestly believe that either one of these two new commissions will actively seek out information that they have been actively trying to deny to the world community, to the inspectors, for the last 11-plus years?