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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

French President Chirac Discusses EU Summit

Aired April 16, 2003 - 11:35   ET

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

LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Jacques Chirac, the French president, is now speaking before the European Union summit in Athens, and he's talking about the looting that's been taking place in Baghdad.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

JACQUES CHIRAC, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE (through translator): ... protect those monuments of our history. Similarly for the main archaeological sites which were pillaged in a way that I don't even need to go into.

I think, and this is what we wanted to do today -- I think that we need to express our indignation and our condemnation, and we should bring our support -- well, I don't really know our support to do what, but anyway, our support to UNESCO, and to tell UNESCO, which is meeting tomorrow, in its competent bodies in Syria, our full cooperation and, of course, our indignation.

That is what I wanted to tell you about today. And of course, now I'm quite happy to answer your questions. Yes, madam?

QUESTION (through translator): Yes. Due to the fact that this signature -- this treat -- Mr. Chairman, the four European countries, members of the Security Council have put forward a declaration on Iraq. I'd like to know whether there was an agreement of the 25, and what is the importance of that draft?

CHIRAC: That draft, which has not yet been finalized, which actually is the subject of discussions between the foreign ministers who, first of all, discussed for them and then with the others, of course, with everybody, and with the presidency. That is obvious, and along the lines of what was decided or accepted at our last summit in Brussels. And it states concerns for the future of Iraq.

The principles upon which we believe that reconstruction, after the period of security, then there will be economic, social, political reconstruction of Iraq which has to be carried out, and the various problems which have to be looked at from the humanitarian problem that's immediate within the security phase, then the problem of re- establishing necessary authorities for the operation of the country.

And all that has to be done within the framework and the role -- central role (UNINTELLIGIBLE). The U.N., we all agree on that. Yes. The U.N., and we all agree that this will lead to a text, which I believe will be approved tomorrow.

QUESTION (through translator): Mr. President, you... HARRIS: We wanted to jump into that question and answer session there after the statement there being made by the French president, Jacques Chirac. Wanted to hear if he had anything specific to say about what was happening in Iraq and also U.S.-French relations, as we understand that he and President Bush have just spoken yesterday, first time in months that the two of them have actually talked. But we did just hear him express France's indignation at the looting of the Antiquities Museum in Baghdad in Iraq.

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