U.S. Counts on Support from a Dozen Countries-Powell
Sat January 25, 2003 03:36 AM ET
By Jonathan Wright
ZURICH (Reuters) - The United States is counting on support from "at least a dozen" governments if it decides to attack Iraq without a fresh U.N. resolution, Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Saturday.
Powell said these unnamed governments, like Washington, would prefer a new U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq, but would not insist on that.
"There are quite a number of countries that already have indicated that they would like to have another resolution, but without another resolution they will be with us," he told reporters on his way to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
"I don't want to give you names or give you a count...but we would not be alone, that's for sure. I could rattle off at least a dozen off memory, and I think that there will be more."
Britain is the only major country that has deployed troops around Iraq alongside U.S. forces in readiness for a possible attack if Washington decides Baghdad is not cooperating enough with U.N. weapons inspectors.
Powell chided Security Council members who voted for a Nov. 8 resolution threatening Iraq with "serious consequences" but who now have reservations about attacking Iraq.
"We can't be afraid to go down this road because the going's going to get tough or hard. You should have realized that was a possibility when you signed on and became a partner to (U.N. resolution) 1441," he said.
France, Russia, China and Germany, all members of the Security Council, have voiced disquiet this week over the possibility of an imminent U.S. attack on Iraq.
They urge that the arms inspectors continue in their task of tracking down any weapons of mass destruction Iraq may have preserved in violation of U.N. resolutions.
Powell confirmed that the Bush administration's strategy is to lay out its case in public that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is taking the same approach as when U.N. inspectors worked in the country between 1991 and 1998.
The United Nations eventually withdrew the inspectors, saying Iraq was making it impossible for them to work.
President Bush has repeatedly stated Saddam must be disarmed by force if he refuses to disarm voluntarily. Bush, Powell and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld have all made strong comments this week on the need for Iraqi compliance.
Powell will speak at Davos on Sunday on the same theme. On Tuesday evening, the day after U.N. inspectors report to the Security Council, Bush will make his annual State of the Union speech to a joint session of Congress.
"You will see more of the case being laid out and repeated so that people understand it," Powell said.
He gave no indication of how long Bush was prepared to wait before deciding whether to use force against Iraq, but he suggested no decision would be taken until Bush sees British Prime Minister Tony Blair at Camp David on January 31.
"We are doing this deliberately, wholeheartedly, patiently, but there will be ultimately an end, I believe, to the patience of the international community.
"We are doing this in full consultation and coordination with our friends and allies," he said.
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