Remarks with Director
General Dr. El Baradei of the International Atomic Energy Agency after their
Colin L. Powell
January 10, 2003
afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Dr. El Baradei just had a good conversation
over a number of key issues that are before the world today. We've talked about
the situation with respect to Iraq, with respect to North Korea and also some of
the nuclear activities that are taking place within Iran.
to Iraq, we reviewed the report that he gave to the Security Council yesterday,
and he briefed me on his forthcoming trip with Dr. Blix to Iraq to present to
Iraqis their need for additional cooperation, better cooperation, the kind of
cooperation we've seen so far, and to fill in the gaps that have been noted in
the information they have been providing. And I look forward to the Director
General's presentation to the Security Council on the 27th of January. That'll
be a very important presentation, the first official presentation after several
months of inspection work.
subject of DPRK, North Korea in its announcement today that it intends to
withdraw from the Nonproliferation Treaty, the United States condemns this
action on the part of North Korea and also finds it very, very unfortunate.
Monday, the International Atomic Energy Agency's Board of Governors, 35 nations
unanimously agreed to give North Korea a chance to come into compliance with its
international obligations and North Korea has thumbed its nose at the
international community. This is very regrettable. It's a sad statement on the
part of the North Koreans of the respect in which they hold their own people.
This makes it more difficult to find a solution.
Nevertheless, we will continue to search for a solution. We will continue to be
open to the opportunity for talks, but talks that will deal with this problem --
a problem created by North Korea -- not by the international community, and not
by the United States. It is their failure to comply with their obligations and
their failure to do what they were supposed to do under not only international
obligations, but the Agreed Framework entered into with the United States. And
we hope that the North Korean leadership will realize the folly of its actions,
will realize that the international community and the United States will not be
intimidated and we will continue to work for a peaceful solution, not only on
behalf of the American people, but on behalf of the people of the world.
Nonproliferation Treaty is an important international agreement, and this kind
of disrespect for such an agreement cannot go undealt with. And so, I look
forward to continuing to work with the Director General and his colleagues as we
deal with these very difficult and important issues.
Thank you very much, Secretary Powell. As the Secretary just said, we had very
good and useful meeting reviewing many issues of international concern in the
area of nonproliferation or proliferation of nuclear weapons.
In the case
of Iraq, I've told the Secretary that we are inching forward but not as fast as
we would like to be, and we still would like to see more proactive cooperation
on the part of Iraq. Iraq has been cooperating well in the area of process but
not as much in the area of substance. We'd like to see more evidence, more
documentations, more interviewing of people, more physical evidence of
destruction of item they've said they have disposed of.
going, Dr. Blix and I, to Iraq on the 19th and 20 of this month basically to
impress on the Iraqi that we cannot continue to have open questions, that this
process has to come to a closure as soon as we can, that the international
community is pretty much fed up with the process of Iraq disarmament which have
lasted for almost 12 years, and we will then be reporting to Security Council on
the 27th of January, updating the Council on where we are at this time.
On -- with
regard to North Korea, I think this -- the step by North Korea today to announce
their withdraw from the NPT is, again, continuation of a policy of defiance.
I think they
have to understand that it is only through compliance and not through defiance
that they will be able to move forward with their needs -- security and
obviously, going to give diplomacy some time to work. I understand that there's
a lot of diplomatic demarches in different capitals. Ultimately, however, if it
doesn't succeed, the matter will have to go to the Security Council. But I hope
we will be able to defuse the situation before we have to go to the Security
from the NPT is a very serious issue. This is a cornerstone of the whole nuclear
arms control regime, and a country cannot just walk out without ramification
because challenging the integrity of the nonproliferation regime is a matter
that can affect international peace and security. And we are obviously going to
continue to cooperate closely, Secretary Powell and the Agency to make sure that
we are resolving these issues, if we can, through peaceful means and we'll do
everything possible to move forward.
Secretary Powell, have you heard anything from this Governor Richardson,
anything positive you could tell us about?
Yes, I have been in touch with Governor Richardson on a regular basis. I spoke
to him last night and I spoke to him twice today so far. Let me just put in
perspective how this unfolded.
Koreans approached Governor Richardson and asked for a meeting because they had
some ideas they wanted to put on the table. Governor Richardson contacted us and
I returned his calls and we discussed the matter and thought that it would be
useful for him to hear whatever ideas the North Koreans had.
Richardson, as you all know, has a past relationship with North Korea and has
done work with them and they know him and he knows them. So in order to not
deprive ourselves of any useful information, we suggested to Governor Richardson
it would be okay for him to go ahead, and we made it possible for the North
Koreans to see him.
And he will
be calling at the end of the day when these meetings are over to give me a full
report, and then we will take that report into account as we move forward to see
whether or not any new elements have been introduced into the equation. But
this, I think, is a one-time shot for the Governor. As he has indicated, he is
not an emissary or does he intend to be, nor does he intend to be an envoy in
this matter. As a brand new governor, he's got a lot of work to do and so I will
be in touch with him later this afternoon.
Secretary Powell, do you think it's time to refer this situation with North
Korea to the UN Security Council and if not, what not? And for the Director
General, you said you want to give diplomacy a chance. How much more time do you
think is reasonable to give the North Koreans before you would want to move this
to the UN?
It will ultimately have to go to the Security Council. When and through what
process and what one would ask the Security Council to do at that time remains
to be determined.
think what we are talking about is matter of weeks. It's not -- it's not an
open-ended invitation for cooperation. If we do not see signs of cooperation on
the part of DPRK quite soon, then obviously, we'll have to move to Security
Mr. Secretary, if the inspectors come back on January 27th with the same
assessment, like the one they provided yesterday, will you still be willing to
move ahead with your military plans? And to Dr. El Baradei, do you see under any
circumstances Iraq being capable of producing nuclear bombs while the inspectors
are doing their work there?
I don't know what the inspectors will say on the 27th, I think it would not be
appropriate for me to make a judgment as to what we would say at that time, what
actions we might take. But let there be no question in anyone's mind, I think
the international community, through Resolution 1441, has spoken clearly.
Iraq must be
disarmed of its weapons of mass destruction. And I think the United States
Government, President Bush, both the government and President Bush and the
American people, and I think the people of the world have spoken that this has
to be accomplished. And if it isn't accomplished peacefully under the provisions
of 1441, then I think the Security Council has to take the action that's
indicated and determine whether or not force is appropriate.
President Bush has also made it clear that we reserve the right, the United
States reserves the right, in the absence of international action to disarm
Iraq, to act with like-minded nations to disarm Iraq. And we are positioning
ourselves for whatever eventuality might occur. And as the President has also
said, he hopes for a peaceful solution, but we will be ready to act otherwise if
that is what is required to make sure that Iraq is disarmed of its weapons of
On Iraq nuclear capability, we have been out of Iraq for four years. We have
just started our inspection seven weeks ago. We still have a lot of work to do.
As I've just mentioned, the more Iraq cooperate actively with us, the better we
will be able to provide positive assurances to the Security Council. So we still
-- it's still work in progress and we are not yet able to come to a conclusion
on that issue.
Mr. Secretary, are you concerned by reports that Russia may have provided GPS
jammers to Iraq, that this is a matter that could be subject to sanctions or
not, and have you contacted the Russians about these concerns?
I am aware of the various reporting, but I have nothing that I want to say about
it or add to the story right now. We would be -- we, of course, would be
Mr. Secretary, are you prepared to call the situation with North Korea a crisis
at this point?
I think it's
a very serious situation. Characterize it in any way you wish. I think it's a
very serious situation. The one thing I will say is that we're not going to be
intimidated. We're not going to be put into a panic situation. We're going to
work this deliberately. We're going to continue to consult with our friends and
allies. We're going to continue to try to find a diplomatic solution, and as the
President said, if there is seriousness on the side of the North Koreans to
solve this problem, we are ready and willing to listen.
But we will
not enter into any kind of talk or dialogue where North Korea has given any
impression that they have any choice but to come into compliance with their
obligations to the international community.
Interviewing the Iraq scientists, how can you see? Do you believe the Iraqi will
accept to send them to Cyprus, the Iraqi scientists, to interview them for Dr.
Would you like to take that one?
resolution is clear that they should be made available and we are working with
the inspection teams to work out modalities where people can give the
information they have that might lead to the truth in a way that they can do so
safely. And one way to do that safely is to remove them from the country so that
they're not subject to threats and intimidation, nor are their family members.
And we're working with both the Director General and with Dr. Blix to work out
the modalities of how that might be possible.
Mr. Secretary, have the North Koreans given –
I can't tell where it's coming from.
Have the North Koreans actually given Mr., Governor Richardson any new ideas in
the meetings so far, and if so, what are they?
I don't want
to make any statements at this time about what they have discussed with Governor
Richardson since I want to wait and get a full report from Governor Richardson
at the end of the meeting and before the North Koreans return to New York to
their mission at the UN.
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January 12, 2003