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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Media Has Gotten First Look at Iraqi Documents

Aired December 7, 2002 - 07:27   ET

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

CALLAWAY: As we told you, within the last hour, the lengthy U.N. weapons disclosure document from Iraq has been handed over to the U.N. The media has gotten its first look at these thousands of pages of documents.
Nic Robertson's standing by in Baghdad to tell us more about this. Nic, can you tell us more about the handover?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on phone): Catherine, I'm currently in Baghdad in the compound of the buildings belonging to Iraqi National Monitoring Directorate. That is the Iraqi body that works with the U.N. inspectors here.

Now, we were just taken a few minutes ago, a small group of journalists, taken into a room inside the building here. We were shown, laid out on a table, the documents that the Iraqi authorities intend to hand over as their declaration of weapons of mass destruction. They intend to hand this over to U.N. officials later today.

Now, what we saw in the room was a large table, about two feet by eight feet, covered with documents. There were perhaps some 60 documents laid out, all on -- printed on A-4 paper, all neatly labeled, some of them in ring binders, some of them in hard cover folders.

The number of pages were difficult to calculate, but written on the wall in the room there, there was information about these documents saying that in total, there were some 11,807 pages of information, 1,334 on the biological area, 1,823 on the chemical, 6,887 on the area of missiles.

Now, there were also 12 CD-ROMs in the room. On the board it indicated -- in the room it indicated that there were some 529 megabytes of information.

Now, in the room as well, there were a group of Iraqi scientists. What we saw laid out on the table definitely appears very likely to match those figures put up on the wall. On the CD-ROMs, some of them were labeled as being the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) supporting documents for the chemical area, for the biological area, for the missile area.

On the documents that were labeled and on the table, each one that was labeled on the outside, we were not allowed to look inside them, but each one labeled on the outside saying that they were currently accurate, that they were the full and complete declaration. And then in the different areas, in their (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in the nuclear area, in the chemical area, in the biological area as well.

CALLAWAY: Nic, do you have any idea, did they give any indication on exactly when all of these pages of documents, including the CD-ROMs, will actually be in the hands of U.N. representatives?

ROBERTSON: That's still a question yet to be answered, Catherine. We had been expecting it to be handed over sometime today. That's what officials here had been telling us. Certainly there's still the expectation in Baghdad that the document will be handed over in the very near future. Currently there are still lines of journalists waiting to get into the building here to view it.

Following that, Iraqi officials here will give us a press conference. The press conference will be given by the head of the Iraqi National Monitoring Directorate, General Hassam Amin. He is the main interlocutor with the U.N. weapons inspectors here. Perhaps in his briefing, we will learn when the document will actually be handed over.

CALLAWAY: All right, Nic, thank you very much, and we'll be hearing from you a little bit later on. That's Nic Robertson in Baghdad.

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