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Tony Blair Addresses Reporters

Aired September 7, 2002 - 20:27   ET

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


CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. I'm Carol Lin at the CNN Center in Atlanta. After several hours of consultations with President Bush, Prime Minister Tony Blair is getting ready to leave back for London, but he is speaking to reporters right now live at Andrews Air Force base about the shared plan he and President Bush have in dealing with Saddam Hussein.
TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: ... going out into the international community. I think people will see that this is not something that's been invented or dreamt up in the last few weeks. This is a real and serious issue. And as I was saying to the president earlier, if you look at this in the context of the present threat of international terrorism, these threats may be separate, but they're linked in this way that they are threats to world's stability and order, produced by extremism, fanaticism, dictatorship, people prepared to use any methods at all to gain ends that most of us would regard as utterly repugnant.

And I think we had learned enough after the events of the past year, particularly the terrible events of the 11th of September, that if there is such a threat, it's better to confront it and to deal with it. Now, how we deal with is, as I say, is an open question. But one thing that can't be ducked is that the issue has to be dealt with.

QUESTION: When you say sensitive, measured, does that mean that there is still a possibility of some form of inspections regime that could deal with this threat?

BLAIR: As I said to you back in March, I think it was, in Texas, I mean, there has never been any doubt as to what the demand of the international community is, and that is an unconditional, unrestricted access, anytime, any place, anywhere. It has not been granted by the Iraqi regime. Instead, they've effectively ended the weapons inspections, and they're refused to cooperate.

So when I say a sensible, measured approach, I mean we've identified the problem. We get out and we seek the broadest international support for it, but we say to people that the will of the international community, that this issue of weapons of mass destruction should be dealt with, has to be adhered to and carried out. Go on.

QUESTION: Do you discuss as part of your agreed strategy whether or not a U.N. deadline would be useful in progressing action against Saddam Hussein?

BLAIR: Well, I think all those issues of detail and what may take place over the next few weeks will have to wait for another time.

QUESTION: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) whether there is anything you can do to encourage the Iraqis to allow the weapons inspectors back in (UNINTELLIGIBLE)? Was that kind of an issue really on (ph) the agenda now?

BLAIR: Well, I don't think it's a question of providing incentives for Saddam Hussein. I think it's question of making him realize that he's got no alternative but to comply with international obligations that are upon him. I mean, after all, as I was saying earlier up at Camp David, it is not America or Britain that's in breach of U.N. Security Council resolutions. It's Iraq and Saddam Hussein's regime. So he knows perfectly well what he has to do, and why hasn't he done it up to now? He hasn't done it because he's trying to develop these weapons of mass destruction and because he believes that the international community -- I think he believes it wrongly -- but he believes that the international community doesn't have the will to enforce the resolutions that it's passed.

And I think we have to demonstrate very clearly that we have that will and have that capability.

LIN: You are listening to British Prime Minister Tony Blair there, after several hours of meeting with President Bush at Camp David. He is sharing some of the results of that meeting, saying that the president of the United States and he have a shared analysis and determination to deal with the issue of weapons of mass destruction, and that he is absolutely certain that there is a threat posed by Saddam Hussein. He also says that evidence of that threat will be released by the president of the United States and the British prime minister sometime in the next several weeks, but that there is no doubt at all that Saddam Hussein is collecting weapons of mass destruction, accumulating those weapons.

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