Entries in Colin Powell (2)


Colin Powell Cautions Against Military Action on Iran Nuclear Program

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Former Secretary of State Colin Powell cautioned U.S. leaders to "think very, very carefully" before pursuing military options in response to a new report showing Iran continuing attempts to build a nuclear device.

Powell instead pushed for increased pressure through sanctions and diplomatic pressure.

"I think the U.S. ought to keep the sanctions on and try to increase the pressure on the Iranian regime," Powell told ABC's This Week anchor Christiane Amanpour in an interview to air later this month.  "And always the president has the military options, but I think those options are quite narrow.  And you'd better think very, very carefully before you start looking at that option too closely."

A new International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report from United Nations weapons inspectors last week presented new evidence that Iran has in recent years continued key actions toward building a nuclear weapon, despite repeated denials.

"I never had any doubt that Iran was working on the technology associated with nuclear programs and development of a device," Powell said.  "In fact when I sort of made this point some years ago, I was criticized in the press as hyping it.  So, I have no illusions about that."

"But as the IAEA also said, they're not sure whether or not they're going to go all the way forward with a nuclear device," Powell said of Iran's intentions.

In Saturday evening's GOP presidential foreign policy debate, several candidates called for aggressive action to prevent Iran from reaching nuclear capability, including military action if other means failed.

Powell, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, refused to engage in a hypothetical discussion of where such military action could lead.

"This kind of discussion seems to me just raises the temperature and makes it that much more difficult to try to find a solution to the problem," Powell said.  "And so the international community should continue to apply pressure on the Iranians."

"The military option is always there, but I'm not sure how good that military option ultimately is if they're digging and burying," he added of Iran's efforts to hide its nuclear efforts.  "And if you had a military option that did nothing more than delay them for a few years, would that be worth the other political costs associated with the use of a military option?"

Powell also said he is uncertain if it is inevitable that Iran will produce a nuclear weapon, saying instead that the focus should be to prevent further movement toward a nuclear device.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


South Sudan: Amid Violence, a New Nation Is Born

ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images(KHARTOUM) -- The Republic of South Sudan is entering the world as its 193rd nation with an overjoyed population that views this moment of freedom as decades in the making.

Officials from all over the globe are taking part in the celebrations Saturday. Even the Vatican has sent a representative. The United States has also sent a high-profile delegation led by U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice and Colin Powell.

South Sudan has gained its independence just six years after ending a bloody civil war with the north that killed more than two million people.

The United States has been involved in the Sudanese peace process for many years. In 2005, George Bush sent Powell, then the U.S. secretary of state, to the region to broker a comprehensive peace agreement that would end the 20-year conflict and begin the road to independence for the south. In the years since, two U.S. administrations have worked to make sure the independence referendum was held without a hitch, appointing special envoys to the region and being intimately involved in the delicate negotiations that followed.

But after the party is over, real questions remain about just how viable this new country will be. Decades of war have left the region as one of the world's poorest. Roughly the size of Texas, South Sudan has less than 100 miles of paved roads, and basic infrastructure such as electricity and water are scarce. It also has an illiteracy rate of more than 70 percent and one of the highest infant mortality rates in Africa.

Since the referendum in January, the young nation has also been dealing with thousands of returnees from the north and abroad without the resources to support them.

For all the bleak indicators, the people of South Sudan, who voted almost unanimously for independence, remain hopeful. They say that even with all of the problems, freedom from Khartoum's repressive regime now gives South Sudan the chance to determine it's own destiny. A right it hasn't had for more than 50 years.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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