Powell: 30 Nations in Coalition

Published March 18, 2003

| Associated Press

The United States is not going it alone, Secretary of State Colin Powell said Thursday.

There are 30 nations in a "coalition of the willing" who are joining together to bring down Saddam Hussein, and another 15 have quietly promised their support, Powell said.

The countries in the coalition are:

Afghanistan, Albania, Australia, Azerbaijan, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan (post conflict), Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan.

A 31st country, Bulgaria, was initally on the State Department's list, but it was removed and replaced by Iceland.

State officials said this doesn't mean Bulgaria is withdrawing support, only that it doesn't want its name prominently displayed

Spokesman Richard Boucher said all of the 30 countries on the list may not provide "boots on the ground" -- but all except Japan are giving something to the military effort.

"And I'd have to say some of the other 15 who have not listed themselves as part of the coalition are, in fact, participating in defensive measures or other things but just don't feel they want to be publicly listed at this point," Boucher said. "So I've got to say this is a changing list and changing numbers."

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

At the same time, Powell said Saddam 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."

On the State Department's list of 30 countries, only one -- 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.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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