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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Iraq Weapons Hunt

Aired January 20, 2003 - 06:03   ET

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

HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: The chief U.N. weapons experts say Iraq is taking steps to make it easier for inspectors to go about their work.
Just minutes ago, they held a news conference, and CNN's Rym Brahimi has more on that from Baghdad -- Rym.

RYM BRAHIMI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, indeed, Heidi.

Well, a very significant development here in Baghdad after the two chief U.N. weapons inspectors, Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei, met with high-level Iraqi officials. Significant, there's a joint statement -- a joint statement, meaning there is an agreement between both parties.

Let's just listen in.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

AMER AL-SAADI, SADDAM HUSSEIN ADVISOR: ... access has been obtained to all sites. This will continue. The Iraqi side will encourage persons to accept access also to private sites.

2: There has been helpful assistance in the logistic buildup of the inspection infrastructure organizations. Example: At the Mussul (ph) office, this will continue. Example: Regarding a field office in Basra.

3: After the find of some empty 122-millimeter chemical munitions at Ulhaider stores (ph), the Iraqi side has appointed a team to undertake an investigation and comprehensive search to look for similar cases at other -- at all locations.

BRAHIMI: Now, this is very significant indeed, Heidi. There are 10 points in that joint statement that was made. You heard it read there by General Amer al-Saadi. He's the top scientific advisor of President Saddam Hussein. He was the main person dealing with the two chief U.N. weapons inspectors.

A lot of these points have to do with specific requests that the U.N. weapons inspectors have made of Iraq. For instance, this legislation that he talked about, enforcing legislation regarding prohibited weapons activities. That's something that they've been asking for a while. Iraq now says, yes.

They've asked also to be -- for Iraq to be more "proactive," is the word they've been using. And Iraq has said, well, OK, we're going to launch an investigation to discuss the findings of those empty chemical warheads, and see if there are anymore lying around.

Documents, the inspectors have asked for Iraq to be more forthcoming in presenting documents. They've already handed over some documents, and they're looking for more.

So, there's a whole series of things, mainly the most important thing that Iraq has said...

COLLINS: Rym Brahimi, just one moment. I'm sorry, I need to interrupt you. We are able to get the news conference now from General Richard Myers in Turkey, talking to us about U.S. troops possibly being stationed in Turkey.

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