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Powell: 30 Nations in Anti-Iraq Coalition

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Mar 18, 1:02 PM (ET)

By BARRY SCHWEID

(AP) US soldiers from the 3rd Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division walk past a Blackhawk helicopter at...
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WASHINGTON (AP) - Thirty nations have declared their support for the United States in any war with Iraq and 15 other nations have given their backing privately, Secretary of State Colin Powell said Tuesday.

'We now have a coalition of the willing that includes some 30 nations who publicly said they could be included in such a listing,' Powell said, 'and there are 15 other nations, for one reason or another, who do not wish to be publicly named but will be supporting the coalition.'

Powell told reporters he had received assurances of open support in telephone conversations Tuesday from the foreign ministers of Denmark and the Netherlands, which were listed, but that Russian President Vladimir Putin had reaffirmed his opposition to war with Iraq in a telephone conversation with President Bush.

But Powell said a mutual concern over terrorism and a planned reduction in nuclear weapons arsenals 'pull us together, and I think we will have this disagreement and move on.'

At the same time, Powell said Iraqi President Saddam Hussein so far had rejected Bush's demand that he leave Iraq, but that a number of countries were still trying to persuade the Iraqi president to go into exile.

'He has essentially dismissed the message,' Powell said.

Asked when the United States may go to war against Iraq, the former Army general said he had 'learned long ago not to make predictions.'

The State Department released the list of 30 countries, one of which, Japan, was identified as only a post-conflict member of the coalition.

Turkey was included, and Powell said even as the Turkish parliament debates a U.S. proposal to use Turkish territory for an invasion of northern Iraq he was confident of Turkish cooperation in one form or another.

Powell also hinted that if the parliament accepts the U.S. proposal the Bush administration might revive its offer of $6 billion in special economic assistance.

Powell said war plans have been drawn up designed to minimize Iraqi civilian casualties and to warn Iraqi commanders about their actions. He said the U.S. aim was 'to make it as quick as possible.'

Powell also said he would not attend a U.N. Security Council meeting on Wednesday at which the chief U.N. weapons inspector, Hans Blix, is due to make a report.

France and Russia, which opposed war and sought to extend inspections, have indicated they would be represented by their foreign ministers.

But Powell said he saw no point in going, and that U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte would represent the United States.


Articles From AP

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• U.S. Tells Iraqis, Surrender or Die photo
• Oil Exports From Iraq May Be Disrupted photo
• Spain Rules Out Sending Troops to Iraq photo
• Bush Fails to Win China, Russia Support photo
• Arafat Signs Legislation for PM Position photo
• Russia Wants U.N. at Head of Iraq Crisis photo
• Iran and Iraq Exchange Prisoners of War
• Arab League Chief Cancels Trip to Iraq
• Powell: 30 Nations in Anti-Iraq Coalition photo
• Explosion in Saudi Arabian House Kills 1
• Saddam Defies U.S. Demand to Leave Iraq photo
• Saddam Mocks Ultimatum to Give Up Power photo
• France May Help if Iraq Uses Bio Weapons photo
• Nations Joining Anti-Iraq Coalition
• Yemeni Man Fatally Shoots 3 Oil Workers photo
• Qatari Emir Pardons Jordanian Journalist
• Blair Pleads for Party Backing on Iraq photo
• Germany: Iraq Threat Doesn't Justify War photo
• U.S. General Studies Iraq Battle Plans photo

Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All right reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.