Posted on Sat, Apr. 05, 2003
Report: Powell Refutes Syria-Iran Claims
Powell's comments in the London-based al-Hayat newspaper come as the Bush administration faces criticism over its plans to temporarily govern postwar Iraq, and amid speculation in the Middle East that Iran and Syria would be America's next targets.
Some Arab nations and countries that oppose the war, including France, Germany and Russia, have said that the reconstruction of Iraq should be guided by the United Nations. Powell said it will be up to the U.N. Security Council to decide what its role will be.
Initially, Iraq will have a U.S. military leadership to maintain security and stability and secure emergency supplies, until a civil authority is developed and transferred to Iraqi rule, Powell was quoted as saying.
A key objective is to make sure the new Iraqi government is free of members of President Saddam Hussein's ruling Baath Party, Powell told Al-Hayat during the recent interview in Belgium.
He also ruled out speculation among Arabs and media reports that Syria and Iran are America's next targets.
"Nobody in the American administration (has) talked about invading Iran or Syria," Powell said. "It seems that there is a constant desire by everybody to accuse us of invasion operations. That didn't, and won't, take place."
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Friday accused Syria of supplying military technology to Iraq, a charge Syria denied. He also said the United States would hold Iran responsible for the entrance of Iran-sponsored forces into Iraq.
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