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CNN BREAKING NEWS

New U.S.-British Resolution Wording

Aired February 24, 2003 - 13:26   ET

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

ANDERSON CNN ANCHOR: Some breaking news out of the United Nations. To report that, We turn to Richard Roth, live at the U.N. -- Richard.
RICHARD ROTH, CNN SR. U.N. CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Anderson, thank you.

We have obtained, CNN has obtained a copy of the proposed United States, United Kingdom and Spanish draft to the U.N. Security Council. It's one long page with several paragraphs.

But the key part at the end is really what gives the sense of it. Operative paragraph number one says that -- quote -- "that Iraq has failed to take the final opportunity afforded to it in resolution 1441," the unanimously passed resolution on November 8th. That in effect is saying Iraq has failed to live up to that resolution, and thus opens the door to a military attack.

The rest of the resolution, some other key graphs, it recalls the host of other resolutions, at least 16 of them, which contained language, at least the U.S. believes, gives them the basis for any type of military conflict. Also says, notes in resolution 687, which was passed now nearly 12 years ago, and says the council declared then that a cease-fire would be based on acceptance by Iraq of the provisions of that resolution, including the obligations of Iraq contained herein.

Thus the U.S. draft here is saying that Iraq has not lived up to the cease-fire agreements, thus reopening the door to a military attack, because it has not stuck to the paragraphs and the aspects agreed to in the gulf war conclusion.

It says also that while acknowledging that Iraq has been and remains in material breach of its obligations, a prior resolution, number 1441, afforded Iraq a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations under relevant resolutions, and thus the U.S. is saying Iraq failed on that account.

It says the council decided in resolution, approved by all, even France, Syria, says that the council decided then that false statements or omissions in the declaration submitted by Iraq -- remember the 12, 000 page filing last year -- that filing, pursuant to that resolution and failure by Iraq at any time to comply with and cooperate fully in the implementation of the resolution would constitute a further material breach. These are the types of paragraphs in the resolution. It notes that Iraq has submitted declaration pursuant to 1441 resolution containing false statements and omissions, and failed to comply with and cooperate fully in the implementation of the resolution.

Another part of the resolution, proposed draft to begin consideration by the council late this afternoon, but it will take weeks, recognizes that the threat, Iraq's noncompliance with resolutions and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and long- range missiles posed to international peace and security.

So this draft, Anderson, U.S., Britain, Spain. Bulgaria's known to be on the side of those three countries. Right now, the U.S. just has those four votes. It will need nine without veto by the other permanent members who do not want a second resolution at the time.

COOPER: Richard, let's talk about consequences -- 1441 used the term serious consequences if Iraq failed to abide by the resolution. Does this new proposed resolution mention anything about what happens next?

ROTH: No, it doesn't specifically give a deadline that I can see. But as Sir Jeremy Greenstock, the British ambassador, the other day said, deadline can be explicit or implicit. The U.S. and Britain will be pushing for a vote as soon as Hans Blix, the chief weapons inspector, gives his next report in person, perhaps that's March 7th. The U.S. would be looking for a quick vote on that.

A huge diplomatic struggle will now ensue over this resolution and a memorandum submitted also at the same time today by Germany, a council member without a veto, France and Russia. That two-page document says an inspectors process should be enhanced, should be diversified with more people, more mechanisms to comb Iraq. It says Iraq should comply, and it says that time is not limitless, but that runs counter to what this U.S./U.K. draft resolution says.

COOPER: So let me just -- just to be absolutely clear, what this resolution does not say is almost important as what it does say, it would seem looking at this document that a very -- this is a result of the very delicate diplomatic dance that has gone on. It sounds like the U.S., the U.K. trying to get a resolution which is opened to interpretation as possible to get as many people to support it as possible.

ROTH: That would be correct. The last resolution from November 8th did say that member states could debate and convene again. The U.S. at that time said it could go alone. Washington will probably say, look, we're come back to the Council, giving you a final chance.

The trouble is, it's the interpretation right now on the cooperation rate. When they drew up that resolution, some say the U.S. fell into a trap. Others say the resolution is a Trojan horse. Either way, many powerful countries on the Council think Iraq should be begin more time.

This resolution definitely cloaks the aspect of war, but it's in there. It says, if you support this resolution, you should know that the United States and a coalition of the willing, if necessary, are ready to attack Iraq.

COOPER: Richard Roth, thanks very much. As you just reported a few moments ago, there is already counter-proposal from other countries. We'll talk about that later on.

Richard Roth, live from the U.N., thanks very much.

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