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U.N. Ambassadors Speak with Reporters

Aired December 19, 2002 - 12:37   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Go to the United Nations, Sir Jeremy Greenstock, the British ambassador to the U.N. is speaking. Let's listen in.

SIR JEREMY GREENSTOCK, BRITISH U.N. AMBASSADOR: ... those two gentlemen have explained to the Security Council this morning that there is a good deal of work to do to follow up Iraq's declaration, but that there are clearly a number of questions that remain unanswered.

They can neither confirm nor deny that the WMD programs in Iraq have been completely eliminated, and therefore, they want to work further on the declaration and on the business of 1441.

Certainly, the United Kingdom, as my ministers have said in London, have a number of questions that they regard as not being answered by this declaration. There is a whole series of questions that were brought up, for instance, by UNSCOM in January of 1999, by the air-marine panel, that refer to programs involving CW materials, precursors, biological growth media, the production of biological agents, as well as work on missiles, extending the range of missiles, and a huge number -- perhaps, over 30,000 -- munitions, that is shells, artillery munitions, that were prepared for the delivery of biological and chemical materials. The destruction of which has not been authenticated.

The declaration was an opportunity to deal with these questions. That it has not done so, we find deeply disappointing. There are a whole number of areas that should have been accounted for in this declaration that have not been accounted for, and that amounts, in our view, to a rejection by Iraq of the opportunity that Resolution 1441 afforded to deal with those areas and clear our minds, and therefore, there is further work to do.

Operative paragraph four of Resolution 1441 is an important text. There's no doubt in our minds there are omissions from this declaration of information that should have been there.

If that is to be remedied, then Iraq must pay very careful attention to the second part of operative paragraph four, because 100 percent proactive cooperation with the inspectors and with the Security Council in dealing immediately with all those areas where doubts remain is going to be necessary; 100 percent proactive cooperation with the inspectors, not just on process, on access, on opening doors, as the inspectors' chief said to us this morning, but proactive cooperation on the substance of what now needs to be cleared up. That is going to be the test of whether we can get through this in the way that the Security Council wants.

We, the UK, will be working very closely with the inspectors, as 1441 requires. We will offer them help and information. We support them. We have confidence in them. And we want them now to get down to hard questioning and robust inspections with 100 percent Iraqi cooperation.

Thank you.


QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) First of all, do those gaps amount to a breach, and secondly, how much concurrency is there between -- in terms of figures -- between you and the Americans? The Americans, for example, seem to be saying that about 100,000 tons of chemical material. You're talking about 30,000. How much concurrency is there between you two?

GREENSTOCK: I'm not going to get into figures. Actually, the 30,000 figure is shared between us and the Americans, and Ambassador Negroponte himself used it this morning.

What I just said on operative paragraph four answers my question related to material breach.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) what you have said, that Iraq has not, in fact, lived up to its obligations under 1441. Maybe to simplify as much as possible, are -- is your country -- it doesn't sound like you're prepared yet to find Iraq in material breach. Is that the case? And if not, why not? And what is the next step? It sounds like 100 percent cooperation with inspections on the ground is the key, and if there's anything less than that, there could very well be a war.

GREENSTOCK: I'm not speculating on the last part of your statement, but what I said on operative paragraph four is what you can read. The declaration on its own is not going to amount to a completion of the work the Security Council and the inspectors have to do.

I think the Security Council will be pretty clear on that, listen to Dr. Blix and Dr. ElBaradei. There is still work to be done by the inspectors on the ground. I am pointing out that the tests of Iraq in cooperating with them now is that much higher and greater because this declaration is inadequate.

QUESTION: Does that mean that Iraq is getting a second chance, Ambassador? You're saying that Iraq is really getting a second chance after this declaration.

GREENSTOCK: The chance for Iraq is as set out in 1441. Don't ask me to reinterpret it.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) GREENSTOCK: I am not the person in the UK government analyzing this text. We have experts, including Arabic language experts who are analyzing that. I wait for their fuller report back to me and instructions, because, as I've said, there's still a lot of work for all of us to do. We haven't had time to complete a very full analysis.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) that any omissions in the Iraqi declaration does not constitute itself a violation or a material breach, but is still waiting for the second part which is the full cooperation with the inspectors...

GREENSTOCK: Yes, we will be faithful to the text of 1441 in that respect.

One last question.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) with statement. Does that mean now that Britain thinks that there should be another Security Council resolution before declaring Iraq in material breach and going to war?

GREENSTOCK: He didn't refer to that. I haven't gotten into that now.

As 1441 says, if there is further -- if there is a further report from the inspectors that shows that Iraq is not fulfilling the terms of 1441, then the Security Council meets and discusses that. We will be faithful to that, and we will look forward to hearing the views of others at that point.

Thank you very much.

QUESTION: Will Iraq be given an opportunity to clarify the...

BLITZER: Sir Jeremy Greenstock, the British Ambassador to the United Nations, briefing reporters following the meeting. Hans Blix, the chief U.N. weapons inspector, briefing members of the U.N. Security Council.

The British envoy saying the Iraqis have omitted information they must include -- they should have included in that nearly 12,000 page weapons declaration. Deeply disappointing, in his words. They're willing now to let the U.N. inspectors continue on the job.

Richard Roth, our senior United Nations correspondent, standing by with some other new information -- Richard.

RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR U.N. CORRESPONDENT: Yes, CNN has obtained nine pages worth of notes that Hans Blix, the chief weapons inspector, talked to the Security Council with, and is currently hearing the various ambassadors give their opinions on.

Key points, I've noted here, as we see Blix and ElBaradei, Mohamed ElBaradei, enter the Security Council, on -- it says, -- quote -- "the overall impression is that not much new significant information has been provided." And here's the Syrian ambassador, by the way, if we can take a listen to him. He participated in this meeting, if that's all right.


MIKHAIL WEHBE, SYRIAN U.N. AMBASSADOR: We just listened very carefully to Dr. Blix and Dr. ElBaradei, but the instruction I have from my government just to attend the consultation but not to share in the consultation due to that Syria and the E-10 countries did not receive the full text of the declaration. And that's sticks to our principle from the beginning, because we believe that procedure is against the -- and in flagrant contradiction and violation to 1441 Resolution, if we are unable to get the full text of the declaration on which basis we can discuss the reports even of Mr. Blix and Mr. ElBaradei, and the other interventions of the members of the council.

Syria is very much concerned with the discussion because it's, first of all, an Arabic country, second it's very close, and the closest to Iraq. We have a very long border -- geographically is very important.

If anything happened to Iraq obviously would affect Syria and all the area in the Middle East. That's what we are keen not to happen, and from here stemmed our concerns.

Thank you very much.

QUESTION: Are U.S. and U.K. sharing any information or intelligence with inspectors as we are speaking?

WEHBA: The resolution referred to any country could check the intelligence information, but the matter is not here. Mr. Blix and Mr. ElBaradei saying that very clearly and publicly that Iraq has offered all positive cooperation with UNMOVIC and with IAEA.

So I don't think, you know, there is any problem from the Iraqi, and was committed to the Resolution 1441, presented the declaration on time, though they are saying, you know, the declaration they -- is not complete, but there are new information in the declaration as what we listened and we have heard in the consultations.

ROTH: Remember, on the Security Council, Syria supporting Baghdad and its declaration, the nearly 12,000.

And as I was saying, Wolf, according to Hans Blix's notes that he used in talking to the Security Council, Blix is determining that the overall impression, based upon the declaration he has seen, is there is -- quote -- "not much new significant information that's been provided in the declaration."

Blix notes cooperation from the Iraqi government with the inspectors, he notes some instances where they got in a little late to some sites, but he does say that while individual governments, notably the U.S., I would assume, have stated that they have convincing evidence to the contrary, the weapons inspectors at this point are neither in a position to confirm Iraq's statements that there are no weapons of mass destruction, nor in possession of evidence to disprove it.

So we see these problems still existing regarding the U.N. and Iraq. Everything is based on Resolution 1441, however, and as you heard the British ambassador talk about it, or infer, the key paragraph there says if there are omissions -- in Resolution 1441 -- there also has to be no cooperation with the inspectors to warrant a material breach.

So far, there's half of that on either side. Baghdad's cooperating with the inspectors, but Blix is determining so far still needs some answers regarding biological, nuclear, and chemical -- Wolf.


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