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Discussion with Mark Gwozdecky from the International Atomic Energy Agency
Aired December 19, 2002 - 13:48 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Iraq is telling the United States to show evidence behind its accusations. We've been talking about that since the beginning of the hour. Well, the International Atomic Energy Agency is right now telling the U.N. that there is nothing new in Iraq's declaration on its nuclear programs. We want talk more about that and also get reaction from what chief weapons inspector Hans Blix had to say about 45 minutes ago. Mark Gwozdecky from the International Atomic Energy Agency joins us now to talk about this. Mark, thanks for being with us.
MARK GWOZDECKY, IAEA: My pleasure.
PHILLIPS: All right, let's go back just to about 45 minutes ago, the comments that did come out of the U.N., chief weapons inspector Hans Blix saying hey, we need more evidence here from Iraq to prove they are not building weapons of mass destruction.
Where does it go from here with you and how do you react to those words from Hans Blix?
GWOZDECKY: I certainly agree with Dr. Blix. What he's saying is that we're at the very beginning of a process. We would have liked to have seen more evidence contained in this declaration, this isn't the end of it, this is the beginning. We're going to be pursuing this and these questions with the Iraqis every day as we proceed. And we're hopeful that they can provide the kind of evidence that we're looking for, that would support their claim and exonerate themselves. So, this is what we're going to do, What we're also saying is that we're going to need a lot of time and a lot of hard work in the months ahead to come to a credible conclusion. We've got a big country to cover here. We've got a lot of issues to deal with. And inspections take time, and we think it's worth the wait to get to a peaceful solution based on inspections.
PHILLIPS: And we keep hearing "evidence," tell us what it is. What is the evidence you are looking for? What is it you need to see?
GWOZDECKY: A good example on the nuclear side, which is what the International Atomic Energy Agency deals with, is the allegation made against Iraq that they have tried to acquire aluminum tubes to produce centrifuge equipment which would be used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons.
Iraq has said to us that this hasn't happened and that, in fact, the tubes were meant for rockets. What we would have liked to have seen is evidence supporting this contention, procurement records, faxes, original documents that support that their procurement efforts were aimed in a certain direction and not towards nuclear weapons. We haven't seen that yet. We may swell get it one day. And we're hopeful that we'll get it soon, so that we can move more quickly. Because these unanswered questions, as long as they're out there, they occupy our time and energy. And if it's easy to deal with, we would like to dispense with them and move on to other issues.
PHILLIPS: And you say "unanswered questions," but John Negroponte, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. says material breach. Well, you hear "material breach," you think this is a trigger for war. Is this a material breach, these unanswered questions?
GWOZDECKY: The inspectors don't decide on the question of breach or no breach, we report the facts. The important thing that we heard today in the council was that the council is unanimously supportive of the inspection process, they're behind the inspectors, they have confidence in the leaders, Dr. Blix and Dr. ElBaradei. And that's the message we took from today. And so we're happy about that, and we're going to continue our work, knowing that we've got that support.
PHILLIPS: Mark Gwozdecky from the International Atomic Energy Agency, thank you, sir, for your time, from Vienna.
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