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WASHINGTON (AP) _ Secretary of State Colin Powell told Arab television audiences Friday the United States will always take their sentiments into account but believes a strong stand against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is necessary.

Powell made the comment in an interview with Abu Dhabi TV, one of four interviews with Arab television networks that he gave after the United Nations Security Council approved a new Iraq resolution.

Powell was asked whether there was any concern in Washington about the possible reaction on the ``Arab street'' if, in the end, the United States went to war against Iraq at a time when the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains unresolved.

He said the United States is doing everything it can to achieve peace in the Middle East.

``At the same time, you cannot ignore other dangers, other problems, such as that presented by Saddam Hussein,'' he said.

``So we are sensitive to the feelings in the Arab street and we will always remain sensitive to the feelings in the Arab street, but we still have to do what we think is necessary to do to protect our friends in the region and to protect our own interests.''

Later, in an interview with Al-Jazeera, Powell was asked whether the United States would drop its demand for regime change in Iraq if Saddam cooperated fully with U.N. inspectors and eliminated his forbidden weapons.

Powell noted that regime change has been the policy of the United States since the Clinton administration because Saddam refused to comply with Security Council resolutions.

If Iraq now complies with disarmament resolutions, it, in effect, ``has adopted new policies, which suggest a change in the thinking in Baghdad and a changed regime,'' he said.