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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Annan Addresses Reporters

Aired December 9, 2002 - 09:58   ET

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

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Let's go straight to the U.N. where the secretary-general is about to take questions from reporters.
KOFI ANNAN, U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL: ... you all got to see the big parcel last night.

QUESTION: Well, what are your impressions initially here of the declaration, from what you're hearing from Vienna and from New York as far as Iraqi cooperation and their willingness to reveal now to the world their WMD program?

ANNAN: I think the documents have just arrived. And as we have -- you all know, the inspectors will have to review them, analyze them and report to the council. And I think that's going to take a while. And until they've done that, I don't think I will have much to tell you.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary General, would you say that the United States is putting too much pressure, too little pressure or just enough pressure on Mr. Blix?

ANNAN: Well, I have...

(LAUGHTER)

I have always maintained that the inspectors have work to do and we should allow them to do a professional job. And I have indicated they should be given the time and the space to do it, and I hope all member states will do that. And don't forget the resolution was passed unanimously, and I do expect the council to support the inspectors, as they do a professional job.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: ... in Washington keeps insisting that the Iraqis cannot be trusted and that this report, like precious reports, will not be truthful. Are you concerned that this will lead to hostilities, to clashes?

ANNAN: I will leave -- I will wait for the inspectors to finish their analysis and report to the council before we get to that hurdle.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, the Americans are saying they have evidence, solid evidence. The resolution, 1441, demand that member states cooperate with the inspectors, give them the information they need. Are you being told by the administration why aren't they playing ball, why aren't they giving the evidence to the inspectors? ANNAN: Well, Mr. Blix has indicated that he would appreciate sharing of intelligence, and he would like governments who have information to give them -- to give him and the inspectors that information, particularly with regards to sites, where they may find hidden material.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary General, the United States agreed on Friday in the Security Council to allow Dr. Blix to redact the document, and now they seem to have changed their mind and would like a full copy. Is it your concern that this process is somewhat being hijacked by the U.S. policy, U.S. foreign policy?

ANNAN: Well, the president of the council seemed to have a new sense of the council, a new sense that the documents should be given to certain members of the council, and has worked that out with Blix. If that is a wish of the council, I have no problem with that.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) decision to give a copy to the permanent five and not to the non-permanent 10, does that strike you as a democratic decision?

ANNAN: I think the council is the master of its own deliberations. If the council decided to do that, it is their right, and I will not quibble with that.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary General, do you think that Saddam Hussein is (OFF-MIKE) trying to avoid war, judging from the fact that they presented the documents in time, as they promised?

ANNAN: I think I have mentioned that war is not inevitable, and it is up to President Saddam Hussein to disarm, to cooperate fully with the inspectors and honor all his obligations to the United Nations. If that were to be done, I would see no reason for war.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) are you ready to submit your revised plan? And also, are you having any plans to travel to Copenhagen for the summit?

ANNAN: We are working on. We've got the comments from both parties, and we are looking at a revised text, which I hope will be ready shortly. And we will share them with the parties.

QUESTION: Are you have any plans to travel to Copenhagen for the submit?

ANNAN: I have no plans as of today to go to Copenhagen.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary General, do you have a reaction on the Iraqi statement to the Kuwaiti people over the weekend?

ANNAN: I haven't studied the full text. Apparently it was a long text. I know that there was an apology to the people and the government of Iraq, which is a positive development. But I will have to analyze the text to see what the rest of the statement says. There are indications that some of the things that were said may not be that helpful, but I will have to study the full text. Thank you very much.

LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: We were just listening there to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan there as he is arriving for his first day at work here with the documents that were delivered from Iraq, now being considered by the Security Council.

We just heard the secretary-general describe the process now being one of a matter of patience, allowing the inspectors and those who are going over those documents to do their job, and we are going to continue to keep our eye on that story. We'll have more on that for you as we go to the U.N. in a just few minutes.

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