Good morning. On Wednesday, Secretary of State Powell briefed the United Nations
Security Council on Iraq's illegal weapons program, its attempts to hide those
weapons, and its links to terrorist groups.
The Iraqi regime's violations of Security Council Resolutions are evident, they
are dangerous to America and the world, and they continue to this hour.
The regime has never accounted for a vast arsenal of deadly, biological and
chemical weapons. To the contrary, the regime is pursuing an elaborate campaign
to conceal its weapons materials and to hide or intimidate key experts and scientists.
This effort of deception is directed from the highest levels of the Iraqi regime,
including Saddam Hussein, his son, Iraq's vice president and the very official
responsible for cooperating with inspectors.
The Iraqi regime has actively and secretly attempted to obtain equipment needed
to produce chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. Firsthand witnesses have
informed us that Iraq has at least seven mobile factories for the production
of biological agents -- equipment mounted on trucks and rails to evade discovery.
The Iraqi regime has acquired and tested the means to deliver weapons of mass
destruction. It has never accounted for thousands of bombs and shells capable
of delivering chemical weapons. It is actively pursuing components for prohibited
ballistic missiles. And we have sources that tell us that Saddam Hussein recently
authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons -- the very weapons
the dictator tells us he does not have.
One of the greatest dangers we face is that weapons of mass destruction might
be passed to terrorists who would not hesitate to use those weapons. Saddam
Hussein has longstanding, direct and continuing ties to terrorist networks.
Senior members of Iraqi intelligence and al Qaeda have met at least eight times
since the early 1990s. Iraq has sent bomb-making and document forgery experts
to work with al Qaeda. Iraq has also provided al Qaeda with chemical and biological
weapons training. And an al Qaeda operative was sent to Iraq several times in
the late 1990s for help in acquiring poisons and gases.
We also know that Iraq is harboring a terrorist network headed by a senior al
Qaeda terrorist planner. This network runs a poison and explosive training camp
in northeast Iraq, and many of its leaders are known to be in Baghdad.
This is the situation as we find it -- 12 years after Saddam Hussein agreed
to disarm and more than 90 days after the Security Council passed Resolution
1441 by a unanimous vote. Saddam Hussein was required to make a full declaration
of his weapons programs. He has not done so. Saddam Hussein was required to
fully cooperate in the disarmament of his regime. He has not done so. Saddam
Hussein was given a final chance. He is throwing away that chance.
Having made its demands, the Security Council must not back down when those
demands are defied and mocked by a dictator. The United States would welcome
and support a new resolution making clear that the Security Council stands behinds
its previous demands. Yet, resolutions mean little without resolve. And the
United States, along with a growing coalition of nations, will take whatever
action is necessary to defend ourselves and disarm the Iraqi regime.