CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Showdown Iraq: How Long Too Long?
Aired October 30, 2002 - 12:01 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Officials at the White House are mulling how much longer to let the deliberations and negotiations drag on over at the United Nations.
Let's get an update, first of all, from our White House correspondent, Kelly Wallace -- Kelly.
KELLY WALLACE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, we can tell you, White House officials invited Hans Blix, the chief U.N. weapons inspectors, and Mohamed Elbaradei. He's the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency. The White House saying those officials were invited here to talk about how to get an effective inspections regime inside Iraq.
The meeting, though, also somewhat of a strategic move, part of this administration's ongoing efforts to get support for the president's proposal. This White House wants a resolution that would call for Iraq to face serious consequences if it does not comply with U.N. demands.
Now, President Bush met briefly, just about 10 minutes, with Dr. Blix, and also the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency. The two men also met with Condoleezza Rice, the president's national security adviser, and Secretary of State Colin Powell. And they met earlier this morning with Vice President Dick Cheney.
Now, White House officials were at one time a bit skeptical of Hans Blix, but they have been very pleased with what they have been hearing from him. He spoke out on Monday, and he said it would be desirable for Iraq to understand that if it does not comply with the resolution, it would face reactions from the U.N. Security Council.
We know the Iraqis believe these meetings are part of an effort by this White House to interfere with the U.N. inspections team, but White House officials say these meetings are part of ongoing consultations, pointing out that Dr. Blix has already visited with the other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council -- Wolf.
BLITZER: So, Kelly, bottom line, how close are they to a compromise deal, specifically the U.S., the French and the Russians?
WALLACE: Key question, Wolf. U.S. officials will say that they feel things are moving in the right direction, cautiously optimistic. We're hearing more talk about a possible compromise, something that the U.S. and the French might agree on. Wolf, you know, the French have been very concerned. They think that any resolution, the U.S. might use it to wage war against Iraq without coming back to the U.N. for authorization.
So, talk of a possible compromise, where the U.S. would be required to go to the U.N. Security Council and consult before pursuing any military action, while maintaining the right to act alone if the U.S. desires to -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Kelly Wallace at the White House -- Kelly, thanks very much.
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