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Powell 'Confident' in Iraq Inspectors

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell says he's "confident" in international inspectors who have begun looking for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

In a Morning Edition interview with NPR's Michele Kelemen, Powell says the Bush administration hopes for a peaceful resolution to the Iraq issue but warns that if war does come, the United States and other nations will be ready to "accomplish the mission of disarmament."

Of the inspectors, which include officials from the United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency, Powell says, "I'm confident that they're going to do their job... they are experts in this field and they know what the Iraqis have done in the past. They know how the Iraqis have deceived previous inspection regimes..."

"I think they'll be aggressive. I think they will try to get to the truth of the matter," he says.

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Michele Kelemen has been with NPR for two decades, starting as NPR's Moscow bureau chief and now covering the State Department and Washington's diplomatic corps. Her reports can be heard on all NPR News programs, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered.