CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Showdown Iraq: Nuts, Bolts of Weapons Inspections
Aired September 30, 2002 - 12:02 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: One of the question marks hanging over talks in Vienna today is whether or not the U.N. Security Council will pass a new resolution that changes the ground rules.
Christiane Amanpour is standing by, and she has late-breaking developments.
Tell us what's happening in Vienna -- Christiane.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, this was billed as the first test of Iraqi cooperation with the U.N., with the weapons inspectors' process, since Saddam Hussein wrote a letter to the U.N. Security Council saying that he would allow unconditional return of the weapons inspectors.
The first day of talks have now broken up. They had been under way for several hours. Hans Blix, the chief U.N. weapons inspector, says that they -- quote -- "made good progress." And they plan to resume tomorrow morning, and he hopes that they will be wrapped up by the end of the working day tomorrow -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Christiane, what about the changing of the rules of the game? As you know, in 1998 before the weapons inspectors left Iraq, the U.N. secretary-general, Kofi Annan, did reach an agreement with the Iraqis that the weapons inspectors would have to give notification when visiting some presidential palaces, some of these so-called "sensitive sites."
Any prospect the Iraqis are going to go along with such a change, as demanded by the United States and Britain?
AMANPOUR: Well, we asked Hans Blix that this morning and whether it would affect his negotiations -- well, not negotiations here today, but his talks with the weapons inspectors. And he said he is operating under existing agreements and existing U.N. Security Council resolutions, and he believes that he has the right to have access to all sites at any time.
Of course, although there are lots of reports about what the U.S. is drafting and what it has shown its other allies in the Security Council, there is, of course, no actual resolution on the table right now. And with that proposal running into severe difficulties with other members of the Security Council, there is an expectation that any kind of new resolution will be a compromise resolution.
Iraq has said that it would only operate and cooperate with existing resolutions. However, privately, I've been talking to a senior Iraqi diplomat in Europe, who says that Iraq does expect there to be a new resolution, a compromise resolution, between the U.S. and the Russian and the French position, and that he believes Iraq will accept a compromise. That's what we know right now.
BLITZER: We'll be watching the situation unfold in Vienna. Thanks very much, Christiane Amanpour.
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