Washington, 24 January 2003 (RFE/RL) -- U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell says many nations would fight alongside American forces if they went to war to disarm Iraq. Powell spoke in Washington yesterday at a joint news conference with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. He made the comment after both Germany and France expressed opposition to military action and urged more time for UN inspectors to search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
Powell said: "I think France and Germany do understand that the obligation is on Iraq and if there is any confusion about that, I am sure we will clear it up in the days ahead in our conversations with them."
Diplomats say the dispute between the United States and some of its allies could hamper efforts to reach a consensus next week when the UN monitors report on 60 days of searches and the Security Council considers its next moves.
Speaking in New York, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has ordered scientists killed if they cooperate with the weapons inspectors. He did not reveal his sources.
Also yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin told U.S. President George W. Bush that next Monday's report by UN weapons inspectors holds the key to deciding on the next move in the standoff with Iraq.
Russia has said it opposes any possible U.S.-led war against Iraq without the authorization of the UN Security Council.