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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

U.N. Security Council Unanimously Passes New Iraq Resolution

Aired November 8, 2002 - 12:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: As you may have seen live here on CNN, two months of behind the scenes haggling, negotiations, agonizing negotiations sometimes, gave way to a quick show of hands at the United Nations.
Our senior United Nations correspondent Richard Roth tells us what brought about, dare I say, Richard, this historic unanimous vote.

RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR UNITED NATIONS CORRESPONDENT: I think it's historic and there's certainly the feel of a gun going off or the race underway, maybe the end game. There have been more than a dozen U.N. Security Council resolutions in the past, this one unanimous. They haven't all been unanimous in the past. Every country on the council, in effect, saying to Iraq, you must accept these weapons inspectors, you must disarm and turn over within 30 days your entire data and information of weapons of mass destruction. And this resolution gives the weapons inspectors, should Iraq indeed comply and let them come back, it gives them new access, more powers, as noted by U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Negroponte.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN NEGROPONTE, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO U.N.: The resolution confirms what has been clear for years, that Iraq has been and remains in violation of disarmament obligations, material breach in lawyers' language. The council then decides to afford Iraq a final opportunity to comply. As a means to that end, the resolution then establishes an enhanced strengthened inspection regime.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROTH: Yes, material breach being the key focus here. The Russian government, the French government believing that they have enough assurances that there is no so-called automaticity, no trigger immediately for a U.S. military attack. The Security Council must meet, per Hans Blix, the chief weapons inspector, should he note or report a serious problem, a violation in Iraq. His teams will start getting there in a few weeks. A preliminary team led by Mr. Blix himself would leave seven days from now and get into Baghdad on the 18th of November -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Richard, I don't think many observers up at the United Nations thought there would be a unanimous affirmative vote, no extensions, of course no nay votes, as recently as only within the past few days. What turned it around to get certain countries, not only France, Russia and China but Mexico, Syria and other countries to vote yea? ROTH: Well probably a variety of reasons, as you may hear from guests to follow in this very seat. But for Russia, China and France, they were pleased that they received promises by the cosponsors of this resolution, the U.S. and U.K., that there would not be a military strike before the council gets to meet again and have a debate and have a discussion. You could come up with a lot of hypothetical situations as what might happen then, that is a bit of a big diplomatic gray area for the moment. But right now, 15 to nothing, the type of council unity the U.S. has not been able to achieve on key Iraq resolutions.

For other countries, as you mentioned, such as Syria, nobody wanted to be left out in the cold after this vote for a lot of reasons, economic, political image, because no one knows what might happen down the road and everybody wants U.S. help, support and connections.

BLITZER: Richard Roth, who's been covering this story for us, thanks very much.

And as he just said, in just a few minutes, I'll be joined from the United Nations by the ambassadors from Russia, as well as Syria. Their support, of course, was very important today. Little bit later, the deputy ambassador, as I said, from Syria will join us, as well -- as well as the British ambassador here in Washington.

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