CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Showdown Iraq: White House Optimistic Over UN Iraq Resolution
Aired October 29, 2002 - 12:03 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: With all of the tough talk, the White House is stuck in a waiting mode, while the UN deliberates.
Suzanne Malveaux, our White House correspondent, is telling us now how officials are passing the time.
They're not simply passing the time-- Suzanne, they're very busy.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, absolutely, Wolf.
Publicly what they're saying is that they are threatening the UN Security Council members or at least warning them that, look, you need to vote on this resolution, vote on it quickly, or otherwise, we are going to form an international coalition and disarm Iraq ourselves.
But privately, Wolf, senior administration officials behind the scenes are a lot more optimistic about this. They see some signs of progress. Most notably, they are pointing to just yesterday, the chief UN weapons inspector, Hans Blix, as well as the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, both endorsing the language, very controversial language, in the UN resolution, saying that yes, that Iraq should face consequences if it doesn't disarm, that it is in material breach -- those words of previous UN resolutions.
This is the type of language that France, as well as Russia, object to, because they feel it will give a green light to authorize military action, but this is something that weapons inspectors definitely approve of.
There's another thing that' also equally important. Senior administration officials are saying what has not happened. We have not seen France or Russia threaten to veto this resolution, which they could. We have not seen them, formally at least, offer a counter- resolution, which they could also do.
So, this administration believes that perhaps late this week, early next week, they could get a vote -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Now earlier over the weekend on Saturday, as you know, Suzanne, the secretary of state, Colin Powell, suggested early this week, presumably Monday or Tuesday, he wanted this whole situation resolved. It seems to be slipping now. What's going on?
MALVEAUX: Absolutely. It is slipping, that deadline, the timeline. Ari Fleischer earlier today saying that there wasn't a specific deadline, but what you're seeing the White House strategy is a lot of this tough talk up front. The president is speaking about it. Powell is speaking about it. But then behind the scenes, the quiet diplomacy, the small steps that they think they'll be able to get this resolution by the end of the week, early next week. But, yes, they're trying to emphasize there's some wiggle room here, but not very much.
BLITZER: Suzanne Malveaux at the White House, we'll be checking back with you as well. Thanks very much.
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