CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Blair Meeting with Putin
Aired October 10, 2002 - 12:48 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: The British prime minister, Tony Blair, is on the road, trying to build support for new U.N. moves against Iraq.
He's in Russia for talks tomorrow with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. The meeting is set for a secluded hunting lodge about two hours north of Moscow.
That is where CNN's Mike Hanna is joining us now live with a preview. Mike, give us a sense of what's happening, and what's likely to happen.
MIKE HANNA, CNN JERUSALEM BUREAU CHIEF: Well, Wolf, here at Zavidovo, it's like a meeting of old friends. Tony Blair and his wife, Cherie, arrived within the last half hour at the hunting lodge here, and it was a warm greeting between Vladimir Putin and Tony Blair and their respective wives.
There has been a special relationship that's grown up between Blair's Britain and Putin's Russia, but this relationship being put to the test over the next 24 hours. Blair is here attempting to garner Putin's support for a hard-line resolution that the U.S. wants to put before the U.N. Security Council, aimed at bringing about Iraqi disarmament through force, if necessary.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Look. There is common ground in the international community, one that Iraq does pose a threat with these weapons of mass destruction, if it has chemical or biological or nuclear weapons, because of its past, because of the threat that it poses, we can't allow that situation to continue, we have to disarm them.
And secondly, that the best way of doing that is with the broadest international support through the United Nations. Now, there will be all sorts of interests that countries have, problems that they have of an economic nature, for example, in relation to Russia. We have to take account of all those questions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNA: Russia's position that force should be a last resort, that any new U.N. resolutions should be aimed at making the work of weapons inspectors in Iraq more effective, and underlying the Russian's position, their massive oil interest in Iraq, as well as the fact that any destabilization in Iraq could threaten an outstanding Iraqi debt to Russia that now amounts to some $7 billion -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Mike Hanna, he is on the scene, setting the stage for a very important meeting between Tony Blair and Vladimir Putin. He'll be covering that over the next day or so. Thanks very much, Mike Hanna.
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