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UN: Powell Says Council Must Meet Responsibilities On Iraq

United Nations, 20 January 2003 (RFE/RL) -- U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell has called on fellow Security Council members to meet their responsibilities to disarm Iraq. Powell told a high-level meeting of council representatives today that he hoped for a peaceful solution to the crisis with Iraq over its disarmament obligations. But he said council members must be ready to enforce the resolution calling for "serious consequences" if Iraq does not comply.

"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," Powell said.

Council members are divided on the course of action to take in the event of Iraqi noncompliance. Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov told today's meeting his country favored a political solution and spoke against "unilateral actions."

German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said Germany was against military action on Iraq, saying it could provoke "unpredictable risks" in the global fight against terrorism. British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw supported the U.S. position, saying Iraq will face the use of force if it did not cooperate more fully with inspectors.