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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Chief Weapons Inspector to Hold Meet with Iraqi Officials

Aired September 17, 2002 - 14:44   ET

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

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Just moments ago, we brought you developing news on the showdown over Iraq. We did tell you that we confirmed that chief U.N. arms inspector Hans Blix will hold preliminary talks with Iraqi officials today at some time to talk about allowing weapons inspectors back into Iraq. We are going to go back to the U.N. where Richard Roth is standing by for more on these new developments -- Richard.
RICHARD ROTH, CNN U.N. CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Kyra. Those talks will start in about 90 minutes. Dr. Blix, the chief inspector of the weapons inspection agency must have been waiting years for this day. He hasn't set foot -- and neither have his inspectors inside Iraq since they left in December of 1998.

Also interested in Dr. Blix is the Security Council. They want to meet privately with him. That could happen tomorrow.

Also, Kyra, the Security Council just ended a meeting, the first since this Iraqi letter arrived, about allowing inspectors in, and there was no agreement or timetable on any type of discussion regarding a new resolution, which the United States wants.

So we have a very fluid situation here. Everybody reacting to this Iraqi letter. The chief U.N. weapons inspector to discuss with senior Iraqi officials some of the practical arrangements to get back in to that country, things like visas, flights, helicopters. They have to work out a lot of details, things that Iraq has been, in the U.S. view, obstructing for years.

PHILLIPS: Richard Roth from the U.N., thank you. We'll continue to follow this story, of course, throughout the day here on CNN.

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