CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Blix Speaks With Reporters
Aired January 23, 2003 - 13:22 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PHILLIPS: Take you over to the U.N., chief weapons inspector Hans Blix now addressing reporters. Let's listen in.
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HANS BLIX, CHIEF U.N. WEAPONS INSPECTOR: ... in Baghdad, I commented at the press conference that we had not solved the U-2 issue. And that was quite clear at the conference room.
There were other matters on which we were disagreed, and they are aware of that. We felt that they were sending too many minders along. Sometimes, we have had a proportion of five minders to one inspector, and we have taken that up with them, and I hope it can be solved in a sensible way.
So I don't think that they got a different message in Baghdad from what the one we are getting here.
QUESTION: Can you elaborate on what you've called the South African model? Did you go yourself to South Africa, and what are you looking for from Iraq?
BLIX: Well, this is an example that I have invoked many times in the past, that our experience in the IAEA was that South Africa wanted to have, create confidence that they did away with the nuclear weapons they had built, and they invited the IAEA to carry out the full inspection of that.
And they were most cooperative and suggested that we could go in such and such places, military, civilian. If we wanted to go any other, they would open them up.
And similarly with documents. And this was an example, much simpler situation than the Iraqi, which is a whole (ph) country and more complex. But nevertheless it demonstrated the will and the eagerness of South Africa to be believed in the world.
And they were setting an example, I think, for Iraq.
QUESTION: I have a follow-up. You told the Observer paper in London on Sunday that you would not go by any administration's timetable, including the American.
Do you still believe that? Do you still stick with that?
BLIX: Well, we go by the timetable of the Security Council and not by any other. I'm not personally setting the timetable. I never said that, so I was quoted as saying that I have my own timetable.
I have the Security Council's timetable. Whatever they say, if they want to change the resolutions, that is the instruction we have. We are a subsidiary organ to the Security Council.
QUESTION: President Bush continuously accuses Baghdad of playing hide and seek. Does UNMOVIC share the same sentiments?
BLIX: Well, I don't want to express myself in those words, but I realize there are things that have gone well, like the access, prompt access, like setting up of infrastructure where the Iraqis have been helpful.
We have set practical arrangements in Vienna before we came, and some other practical arrangements that were cleared up now.
But there are other areas where we are not satisfied. The U-2 is one. We had a problem with the helicopter flying up to the no-fly zone. I think we have solved that one. But it's a mixed bag.
QUESTION: Will you ask for more time?
BLIX: I have said several times that as far as we are concerned, in our area -- and I'm not speaking, only for our area, not for the nuclear area -- we are -- if Iraq showed the cooperation and respect that is asked of them, then it could be a fast process.
If they provided the evidence that is needed, it could be fast now, as it could have been fast in 1991. And if you do not have that cooperation or respect, then it can drag out, as it did in 1991.
That's my ...
QUESTION: So you will ask for more time?
BLIX: I am not saying that. I am saying precisely what I've said to you now. Mr. ElBaradei is in a somewhat different situation. He does not have any open disarmament issues. He has a number of open questions, and he has said that a number of months more would perhaps help him to settle that.
But we have many more issues. The reports of the early 1990 to '99 point to about a 100 issues. If you clump them together, you get down to some 30 issues. There is much more to clarify in this area.
PHILLIPS: Chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix coming out speaking with reporters there at the U.N. Still haven't found the evidence that he's looking for, after meeting on a regular basis with U.N. weapons inspectors.
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