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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Annan Calls on Security Council to Consider Humanitarian Effort

Aired February 10, 2003 - 14:50   ET

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

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: And we do have breaking news out of the United Nations in New York. We want to go live there right now to check in with Michael Okwu because apparently the U.N. secretary- general, Kofi Annan has a new idea about Iraq and the Security Council -- what is it, Michael?
MICHAEL OKWU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Carol, what I can tell you is diplomatic sources are telling CNN that the secretary-general, Kofi Annan, is asking for the Security Council to come together on Thursday to talk about contingency plans for a humanitarian effort in Iraq should it come to the U.S. and other countries going to war in that country.

Now, some people might read that as the secretary-general conceding or all but conceding that perhaps war is likely, but other people may simply read it, Carol, as the secretary-general in a position of authority wants to make sure that all contingencies are in place should diplomatic efforts fail.

A letter has been sent by the president of the Security Council, who happens to be the permanent representative from Germany, to all the other Security Council members asking them to take this -- take this request seriously and, in fact, comply with it -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Yes, but Michael, why not wait until after Friday when Hans Blix presents his report to the U.N. Security Council?

OKWU: Well, slight speculation here, Carol, but it is widely considered that that date, February 14, is going to be a very decisive moment, that Blix and ElBaradei may come forward and say that the Iraqis are either very much not complying or that there has been a shift. So people recognize that after the 14th, there may be significant movement on the diplomatic level, that the United States may, in fact, come out much more strongly than they already have been.

Of course, the president saying that the game is over. The secretary-general perhaps trying to make some sort of decision, have some kind of contingency in place, at least get the other Security Council member nations to start thinking about this before that time -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Good enough. Michael Okwu, reporting live from the United Nations in New York.

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