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Interview with Arab League Ambassador to U.N.
Aired November 13, 2002 - 12:56 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We're getting additional reaction now from around the world to Iraq's decision to accept the U.N. Security Council resolution. Joining me now from New York is Yahya Mahmassani, he's the Arab League Ambassador at the United Nations. Ambassador, thanks for joining us. We heard Amr Moussa say this is a good day for the Arab world, that the Iraqis have accepted. Do you believe that the Iraqis in the end will agree to complete unrestricted, unfettered inspections of any place the inspectors want to go to in Iraq.
YAHYA MAHMASSANI, ARAB LEAGUE AMB. TO U.N.: This is what they said, and I think this is exactly what they mean. And to prove it, let the inspectors, weapons inspectors, go to Iraq, and they will find out. I think what the Iraqis said is very true.
BLITZER: And how much of a timetable do you think there will be before there's potentially a flash point? Because, as you know, December 8th, they have to certify what programs of mass destruction, if any, they have. Do you think they will come clean then?
MAHMASSANI: I think they will come clean. They have nothing to hide. They have made it very clear in their letter, which is about nine pages, they were very clean on this. They did say they have nothing to hide, they have no weapons of mass destruction, and they welcome the inspectors. They could come and go all over Iraq, wherever they want, there is no problem, and time will prove it.
BLITZER: Finally, Ambassador, if in fact in the end Hans Blix and Mohammed El Baradei come back to the U.N. Security Council and report that the Iraqis have not cooperated, will the Arab world or at least a big part of the Arab world, support the U.S. in a new Gulf War, Gulf War II, if you will?
MAHMASSANI: Well, first, let's talk that Mohammed El Baradei and Mr. Hans Blix don't have to come to the Security Council for a problem. I think they might find a very positive cooperation from the Iraqi side. The second point is that the Security Council resolution is very clear, 1441 says there are no hidden triggers, there are no automatic attack on Iraq.
If -- if -- and that's a big if -- if they encounter any difficulty, according to the Security Council resolution, they are supposed to come back to the council. The council will convene, discuss it and discuss what next step to take.
But let me make it clear, we do not accept any attack on Iraq; we are not in favor of any attack on Iraq. We have had enough wars in the Middle East. One war is enough. We don't want to see another war in the Middle East. That will bring inflame the whole area and would bring anti-American sentiment. This is something we don't want to see.
BLITZER: Yahya Mahmassani, thanks so much for joining us, the Arab League ambassador to the United Nations. Good to have you on the program. We appreciate it very much.
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