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Sunday, 26 January, 2003, 17:15 GMT
Powell fails to woo sceptics
Colin Powell speaking at Davos
Powell did not dwell on differences with Europe

Leading European figures say a speech by US Secretary of State Colin Powell warning that time is running out for Iraq to disarm has not persuaded them that a military strike is necessary.

"When Mr Powell speaks, he is always impressive," Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana and All Albania told BBC News Online.

It was great to hear him explain how, once in a while, in the face of intractable evil, you have to act

Stephen Kaufmann
US-based Arrow Electronics

"But if they are so sure of the evidence that there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, why have they not produced it?"

The US should ask why its Iraq policy has proven so unpopular worldwide, he said.

"Their position is based on the supremacy of democracy. When you see them not waiting to hear the opinion of others, I am afraid it will undermine their case."

'Bad news'

A senior Irish cleric said Mr Powell's speech was "a very good presentation of US policy," but it did not explain why there is an immediate danger.

Wesley Clark
Wesley Clark: Convergence hope

"And there is the question of proportionality if you are mandating military action which could have enormous humanitarian implications."

From the business community, Cem Kozlu, chairman of Turkish Airlines, said the message from Mr Powell was bleak.

"What Mr Powell said is that if there is evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq there will be war. And if there is no evidence, there will be war. That is bad news."

Aviation is typically one of the sectors worst affected by conflict, increasing fears of foreign travel.

Praise for Powell

But for the US, Wesley Clark, former Nato supreme allied commander for Europe, led the plaudits for Mr Powell's speech.

"He gave a very reasoned explanation of US policy," Mr Clark said. "It will help bring everyone together."

Stephen Kaufmann, chairman of US-based Arrow Electronics, said: "It was great to hear him explain how, once in a while, in the face of intractable evil, you have to act.

"And to say how America, when it does use military power, follows it up with humanitarian and nation-building measures."

However, Mr Kaufmann, who lived in the Netherlands for a year, doubted whether many sceptics of US policy were won over by the address.

"Some people have got fixed ideas. They have this mindset that the US is trigger-happy, and nothing Mr Powell could say would change that."



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26 Jan 03 | Americas
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