CNN BREAKING NEWS
U.N. Security Council Votes on Iraq Resolution
Aired November 8, 2002 - 10:14 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: We see now that Secretary-General Kofi Annan has entered the chamber there at the Security Council, and we're going to listen in now as they prepare to take this vote on the resolution forcing Iraq to disarm.
Let's bring our Richard Roth, our U.N. correspondent, who is standing by there as well -- Richard.
RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR U.N. CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Leon, we're about to have in a matter of seconds the United Nations Security Council vote on Iraq. The acting president is China, and we are about to have the resolution that calls on Iraq to accept these weapons inspectors, and backed by the words "serious consequences."
We're going to get a vote very quickly, and according to a diplomat -- as well-placed diplomat here, it's going to be a unanimous vote, Leon, 15 to 0 -- something the U.S. wants. And we're very close to the vote, Leon.
HARRIS: Let's listen in.
Apologies to the audience, we're trying to get some problems straightened out with that translation circuit there, so we can hear this in English.
Richard, let me bring you back in while we're waiting to see this vote actually take place. You say it's going to be unanimous. That was not expected as of 15 -- maybe half an hour ago, was it?
ROTH: Yes, it's been down to the wire. Russia had a lot of reservations, and so did Syria.
Secretary of State Powell wrote the Syrians a letter saying the pursuit of disarmament and world peace would be achieved better with unanimous -- here is the vote.
HARRIS: And, Richard, from where I sit here, it did look as though that was a unanimous vote. I couldn't see every single hand, but I believe it may have been.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The draft resolution received 15 votes in favor. The draft resolution has been adopted unanimously as Resolution 1441 of 2002. I should now like to give the floor to the secretary general, his excellency, Mr. Kofi Annan.
HARRIS: All right, listen, there we go. We have it now officially. It was a unanimous vote. What happened within the last few minutes or so?
Actually let's listen in to Kofi Annan.
KOFI ANNAN, SECRETARY GENERAL, UNITED NATIONS: ... today has strengthened the cause of peace and given renewed emphasis to the search for security in an increasingly dangerous world.
The resolution sets out in clear terms Iraq's obligation to cooperate with the United Nations in ensuring the full and final disarmament of his weapons of mass destruction.
It leaves no doubt as to what these obligations are nor as to how they must be fulfilled. Iraq now has a new opportunity to comply with all the relevant resolutions of the Security Council.
I urge the Iraqi leadership, for the sake of his own people and for the sake of world security and world order, to seize this opportunity and thereby begin to end the isolation and suffering of the Iraqi people.
If Iraq's defiance continues, however, the Security Council must face its responsibilities. This resolution is based on law, collective effort and the unique legitimacy of the United Nations. It represents an example of multilateral diplomacy serving the cause of peace and security.
It reflects a renewed commitment to preventing the development and spread of weapons of mass destruction and the universal wish to see this goal obtained by peaceful means.
I commend the leaders and the council members who have worked so hard to negotiate this resolution. I know that it has not been easy to reach agreement. It has required both patience and persistence, but the effort has been well worthwhile.
Whenever the council is united, it sends a very powerful signal. And I hope that Iraq will head that signal.
I also wish to recognize those countries, especially members of the League of Arab States, who persuaded Iraq to change its previous position.
It is important that governments with influence on Iraq remain engaged in the efforts to obtain Iraq's compliance with its international obligations.
The road ahead will be difficult and dangerous, but empowered by this resolution, the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission and the International Atomic Energy Agency stand equipped to carry out their vital task.
To succeed, they will require full and unconditional cooperation on the part of Iraq and the continued determination of the international community to pursue its common aim in a united and effective manner. This is a time of trial for Iraq, for the United Nations and for the world. The goal is to ensure the peaceful disarmament of Iraq in compliance with Security Council resolutions and a better, more secure future for its people.
How this crisis is resolved will affect greatly the cause of peace and security in the coming years in the region and the world.
I commend the council for acting today with purpose and resolve.
Thank you very much.
HARRIS: U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan there, giving the wrap-up there of the vote, warning Iraq of the consequences of not complying with this resolution. Also, committing the efforts made by the countries to get Iraq to change its position.
JOHN NEGROPONTE, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: Thank you, Mr. President. This resolution constitutes the world community's demand that Iraq disclose and destroy its weapons of mass destruction.
On September 12th, President Bush came to the General Assembly seeking to build an international consensus to counter Iraq's persistent defiance of the United Nations.
Over a decade ago, after evicting Iraq from Kuwait, the Security Council determined that peace and security in the Persian Gulf region required that Iraq verifiably give up its weapons of mass destruction. The Council reached that decision because of Iraq's record of aggression against its neighbors and use of chemical and biological weapons.
For 11 years, without success, we have tried a variety of ways, including diplomacy, inspections and economic sanctions, to obtain Iraqi compliance.
By this resolution, we are now united in trying a different course. That course is to send a clear message to Iraq, insisting on its disarmament in the area of weapons of mass destruction and delivery systems, or face the consequences.
The resolution we have just adopted puts the conflict between Iraq and the United Nations in context and recalls the obligations on Iraq and the authorities of member states to enforce them.
It begins by reference to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in August of 1990 and the international community's response. It recalls that the cease-fire ending the 1991 Gulf War was conditioned on Iraq's disarmament with respect to nuclear, chemical and biological weapons; together with their support infrastructures, ending its involvement in and support for terrorism and its accounting for and restoration of foreign nationals and foreign property wrongfully seized. In addition, the Council demanded that the Iraqi government stop oppressing the Iraqi people.
Iraq has ignored those obligations essential to peace and security.
The resolution confirms what has been clear for years: that Iraq has been, and remains, in violation of disarmament obligations -- "material breach" in lawyers' language.
The Council then decides to afford Iraq a final opportunity to comply. As a means to that end, the resolution then establishes an enhanced, strengthened inspection regime. The resolution gives UNMOVIC and the IAEA a new, powerful mandate. Its core is immediate and unimpeded access to every site, including presidential and other sensitive sites, structure or vehicle they choose to inspect, and equally immediate and unimpeded access to people they wish to interview.
In other words, anyone, anywhere, anytime. And the resolution gives UNMOVIC and the IAEA the power to do their work properly and to ensure the verifiable destruction of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and associated infrastructure and support programs.
Let us be clear: The inspections will not work unless the Iraqi regime cooperates fully with UNMOVIC and the IAEA. We hope all member-states now will press Iraq to undertake that cooperation.
This resolution is designed to test Iraq's intentions. Will it abandon its weapons of mass destruction and its illicit missile programs or continue its delays and defiance of the entire world? Every act of Iraqi noncompliance will be a serious matter because it would tell us that Iraq has no intention of disarming.
As we have said on numerous occasions to council members, this resolution contains no hidden triggers and no automaticity with respect to the use of force. If there is a further Iraqi breach reported to the council by UNMOVIC, the IAEA or a member-state, the matter will return to the council for discussions as required in paragraph 12. The resolution makes clear that any Iraqi failure to comply is unacceptable and that Iraq must be disarmed.
And one way or another, Mr. President, Iraq will be disarmed. If the Security Council fails to act decisively in the event of further Iraqi violations, this resolution does not constrain any member-state from acting to defend itself against the threat posed by Iraq, or to enforce relevant United Nations resolutions and protect world peace and security.
To the government of Iraq, our message is simple: Noncompliance is no longer an option.
To our colleagues on the Security Council, our message is one of partnership. Over seven weeks we have built international consensus on how to proceed toward Iraq. And we have come together, recognizing that our collective security is at stake and that we must meet this challenge as proposed by President Bush on September 12.
To the Secretary General, to Dr. Blix and to Dr. ElBaradei, we urge you to make full use of the tools given to you in this resolution, and we pledge our full support. And we urge every member of the United Nations to offer you all assistance possible.
To the governments and peoples of the Arab world including the people of Iraq, the purpose of this resolution is to open the way to a peaceful solution of this issue. That is the intention and wish of my government.
When the Baghdad regime claims that the United States is seeking to wage war on the Arab world, nothing could be farther from the truth. What we seek and what the council seeks by this resolution is that the disarmament of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. We urge you to join us in our common effort to secure that goal and assure peace and security in the region.
President Bush asked the Security Council to take on the challenge posed by Iraq. He asked that it find Iraq in material breach of its ongoing obligations, that it establish an enhanced inspection regime as a means for obtaining the disarmament of Iraq in the area of weapons of mass destruction, and that it make clear that the most serious consequences for Iraq would follow continued defiance.
This resolution accomplishes each of these purposes. Moreover, it does so as result of intents and open discussions with our Security Council partners. In this process, different views about the shape and language of a resolution were fused into the common approach we and our British partners wanted to create.
This resolution affords Iraq a final opportunity. The Secretary General said on September 12, and he repeated it again today: "If Iraq's defiance continues, the Security Council must face its responsibilities."
We concur with the wisdom of his remarks. Members can rely on the United States to live up to its responsibilities if the Iraq regime persists with its refusal to disarm.
Thank you very much, Mr. President.
HARRIS: You've been listening to the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., John Negroponte there, again making the case that the U.S. has been making for some time that Iraq has been in material breach for years now of the relevant U.N. resolutions that governs disarming. And he also went on to say that we are now united in trying a different course.
We also heard right before he spoke, we heard Secretary-General Kofi Annan say that the time of trial for the -- it is now a time of trial for Iraq, for the U.N. and for the world.
Let's bring in our Richard Roth, who has been listening in as well -- Richard.
ROTH: Yes, well, some very key points made by U.S. ambassador to the U.N., John Negroponte, and he wanted the entire world to hear it.
Despite this resolution, and the fact that the Council would meet again if there is any problem for the returning weapons inspectors, Negroponte said this resolution does not constrain any member state from acting to defend itself against a threat posed by Iraq or to enforce relevant U.N. resolutions to protect world peace and security.
And of course, again, Washington insisting it has the right to attack militarily, if it chooses to do so. However, for now, the U.S. is pursuing disarmament, said the ambassador -- Leon.
HARRIS: Now, as we continue to discuss this, we're watching, as each of the other members of the Security Council, go on to make their statements about the resolution and about the demands that they're making on Iraq this morning. We'll keep our eye on that.
We also have learned that President Bush is going to be coming out and speaking in about 13 or 14 minutes. And when he comes out, we will take his comments live.
But, Richard, let me ask you about a couple of things, first of all. You know, you did mention the fact that there is this specific ambiguity here, because it seems as though there were so many specific demands here being made on Iraq to comply. And yet, this window, as we heard John Negroponte come out and say, this resolution does not prohibit the U.S. or any nation, as he said, from defending itself from any perceived threat. And we've heard this administration say time and time again that Iraq is perceived to be a threat to the U.S.
ROTH: Well, they got a unanimous vote. So, everybody knew what Washington was saying, privately and publicly, but they're happy the French, the Russians, that they at least will get another meeting and consultations. And maybe they hope they can stage a last-ditch diplomatic effort to ward off any U.S. attack.
The British ambassador, Sir Jeremy Greenstock, who is speaking now, did in his remarks -- and he may be about to say it -- say, there is no -- quote -- "atomicity (ph) in the resolution," despite what Ambassador Negroponte said. He says the Council will return for a discussion.
You see two different positions; everybody claiming victory. But the U.S. still is the big stick, put a lot of pressure on members, got the unanimous vote, a big victory for the U.S. here for now.
HARRIS: Let's bring in now our Wolf Blitzer, who is with us from Washington -- Wolf, I'd like to ask you first of all, how do you think that we -- we know we are going to hear from President Bush any moment now, and you just heard Richard reporting here that -- it's been said there by those who are at the U.N., at the Security Council, that this automaticity, this trigger, if you will, has been removed from this. Is it clear that the White House believes that?
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: It's clear that the White House believes its hands are not tied by this U.N. Security Council resolution, that if, in fact, Iraqis do not comply fully with the United Nations weapons inspectors, the U.S. will go for a meeting at the U.N. Security Council, but is not required, according to the Bush administration's interpretation, of what just passed unanimously, to get another formal U.N. Security Council resolution passed before the U.S., Britain, and perhaps some other coalition partners might launch military action against the Iraqi government.
That's precisely what the Bush administration wanted. I can't help but believe, Leon, that the very strong Republican showing in the elections on Tuesday, the midterm congressional elections, the impressive work that the president did politically here in the United States, paid off today at the United Nations Security Council. I think a lot of these members were reluctant to go up against the Bush administration, the president, at a time when he did get, in effect, a strong vote of confidence, even though his name was not on any ballot. Politically, I think they saw the writing on the wall, and they were reluctant, at this point, to go up against the president.
HARRIS: You think that's what, basically, was the straw that broke the camel's back in terms of resistance that President Bush was receiving from both France and Russia?
BLITZER: I think it certainly helped the president and Secretary of State Powell and John Negroponte, the United Nations ambassador, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
I think in the end, they would have gotten something along these lines, it might have played out a bit longer, the Syrian delegate, for example, the Syrians, they originally wanted the vote to come up next week. They were seeking some sort of delay. They were, of course, they had to be brought online.
Mexico, of course, a close ally of the United States, as we all know, with Vicente Fox, the president of Mexico, had some serious reservations.
But in the end, I think that they all got the message, they want to be on the winning side, they don't want to alienate the president of the United States overly right now, especially at a time when he did receive this political boost in these elections.
There's no way of knowing that for sure, but knowing how these countries weigh their own political interests, their desire to have strong relations with the United States for their own benefit, of course, that certainly did have a resounding impact, at least everything I can tell.
HARRIS: Well, let's go to the White House right now. John King is there, he's been listening in as well, and John, is that the sense that you get there, that this showing that the Republican Party and that President Bush, by extension thereof, made this past Election Day, may have been what basically turned the tide for him there at the U.N. Security Council?
JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I think the vote Tuesday certainly helped, Leon. The administration, I think, would draw the line back to the previous vote though, when the Congress endorsed the resolution authorizing the use of force.
That made it clear to the United Nations that this president had the support of his own Congress, and that he could act unilaterally. U.S. officials say Yes, the voters on Tuesday certainly reinforced that view that this president had the authority and the support of the country in doing this.
We're also told that to get the final vote from Syria, Secretary of State Colin Powell sent a letter to the Syrians, saying how important he believed it was that A, the vote be unanimous, and that B, that an Arab nation go on the record, telling Iraq this was its chance, that this could be resolved peacefully if Iraq would accept this new mandate from the United Nations.
We will hear from the president, Leon, in about ten minutes. Look for the president to say, we are told, the burden is now on Iraq, that yes, this can be resolved peacefully, but that the choice is Saddam Hussein's.
We also know the United States is preparing to share its most sensitive intelligence on Iraqi weapons sites with the weapons inspectors, and that the Bush administration, in previous conversations with Dr. Blix, the head of the weapons inspections team, has said it wants him to be aggressive from day one, that if Saddam Hussein, in the next week, accepts the resolution, and those inspectors go back in about 45 days from now, the Bush White House wants the weapons inspectors to go for the sensitive sites right away, put Iraq's commitment to the test, and it will share some very sensitive U.S. intelligence about those sites with the inspectors to get them on their way.
HARRIS: John King at the White House, Wolf Blitzer in Washington, stand by right there. I would like to get back to you with another question or two, but we want to go right now and get the word from Baghdad. Quite a bit has been given to Saddam Hussein to think about for the next seven days or so, and let's check in with our Jane Arraf to see how all of this is being received there -- Jane.
JANE ARRAF, CNN BAGHDAD BUREAU CHIEF: Hi, Leon. Well, the U.N. secretary general seemed to sum it up when he said that the road ahead would be difficult and dangerous, and it seems the countdown begins.
Iraq has seven days to accept this resolution, and then 30 days to come up with a declaration of any of those banned weapons, and documentation that's been missing.
Now, the Iraqi government has been sending signals that it will accept, but it certainly won't do so happily. The Iraqi trade minister this afternoon, on seeing the resolution, was saying that Iraq still has serious objections, that it is a pretext for war against his country.
But in the end, it does appear that they will accept, although under protest, certainly -- Leon?
HARRIS: All right. Jane Arraf reporting live to us from the evening hours there in Baghdad. Thank you, Jane.
Let's go back now to our Wolf Blitzer and John King, if I can ask the two of them this one question.
Now, with considering how slow France and Russia and others in the Security Council were to come on board here, and the fact that we have not really heard much of a clamor out there internationally, other countries wanting to come on board here militarily, now that we have seen them come on board here now in terms of this resolution, how does the administration translate that support in the Security Council now into military support?
BLITZER: Well, I think it's clear that the administration is delighted by this unanimous vote. From the early days, I remember interviewing Secretary of State Powell eight weeks ago, right around the time that the president went to the United Nations, and delivered his address in September.
They -- a lot of officials, a lot of people were saying publicly that they wanted this resolution, A, not to be vetoed by one of the permanent members, meaning China, Russia, France, Britain, the United States -- obviously, the United States and Britain are not going to veto it. But they were hoping that at a minimum, there would be some abstentions, and that no one would necessarily go ahead and block this resolution.
What they have now done, obviously, is see a unanimous affirmative vote, including the five permanent members of the Security Council, and the ten other members, including an Arab state, Syria, which is representing, in effect, all of the Arab world.
That's a huge win for the Bush administration in trying to go forward now in sending a powerful message to the Iraqi government that the whole world is basically demanding that you comply with these United Nations weapons inspectors, and get the job done in order to avoid war, because no one is under any illusions right now, Leon.
If the Iraqis don't comply, the pressure will be enormous on the United States and the Bush administration to back up, to live up to its threat, namely to use military force, and I think that all indications are, as we all know, that the Pentagon is gearing up precisely for that, if necessary.
HARRIS: Then, as we go on to discuss this, we want to advise the audience that President Bush is expected to come out and speak within the next four or five minutes, and once he does, we will have that for your live. We're still continuing our discussion about this unanimous vote in the U.N. Security Council that just happened moments ago.
You're looking here at the vote here, a replay of the tape of that vote, just moments ago here, a unanimous vote in favor of -- the new resolution that has been backed by the U.S., a strong resolution forcing Iraq to commit to uninhibited inspections of their weapons systems, and their development of weapons of mass destruction.
We want to bring back in our Richard Roth, who is standing by there at the U.N. -- Richard, you just heard Wolf bring up the Syrian delegation there, and as you know, they had been signaling that they were going to be abstaining from this vote. They changed all of a sudden here. They had been asking to at least hold off until Monday, because of a meeting with Arab leaders who were going to be discussing this.
What happened with their change of position, and why was it so important to have that vote today, and not wait for three more days?
ROTH: Well, the U.S. didn't want to -- they just thought too much time was going on. They didn't want a big Arab summit meeting to, perhaps, see a rallying cry against any possibility of threat of war.
Syria had objections, thought that there should be more rewards for Iraq if they comply, such as immediate lifting of sanctions, and they also thought it should be a nuclear-free zone. Why focus on Iraq, what about Israel? That's the Syrian position.
As noted by John King, Secretary Powell wrote the Syrians. I was also thinking how what happened on September 11 has also changed the dynamic here in this very same Security Council. When the big Gulf War resolutions happened 11, 12 years ago, there were negative votes. Whether it is Cuba, Yemen, here nations such as Syria and others who have policies opposed to the U.S., they came aboard.
I think that underlines also the vote, and also how much more powerful the U.S. is now in the world, and perhaps the threat of weapons of mass destruction for everyone.
Here is Mexico, which also held its feet for a long time before signing over. Of course, they all wanted to get something out of the U.S., as much as they could, on whatever issue each country wants. A lot of horse trading in the end -- Leon.
HARRIS: Yes, and Richard as you were speaking, I'm sure the audience couldn't help but notice the picture that we had up was that of President Bush. A camera we have set up there in the Rose Garden shooting through the windows there into the Oval Office, and as you could see, he was -- he looked as though he was quite pleased by whatever it was he was discussing in there, and we can only imagine what that must be.
And as you can see now, this is a president who has been on quite a roll this week, and he seems to be enjoying it.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Good morning.
With the resolution just passed, the United Nations Security Council has met important responsibilities, upheld its principles, and given clear and fair notice that Saddam Hussein must fully disclose and destroy his weapons of mass destruction.
He must submit to any and all methods to verify his compliance. His cooperation must be prompt and unconditional or he will face the severest consequences.
The world has now come together to say that the outlaw regime in Iraq will not be permitted to build or possess chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.
That is the judgment of the United States Congress. That is the judgment of the United Nations Security Council. Now that world must insist that that judgment be enforced.
Iraq's obligation to disarm is not new, or even recent. To end the Persian Gulf War and ensure its own survival, Iraq's regime agreed to disarm in April of 1991. For over a decade, the Iraqi regime has treated its own pledge with contempt.
As today's resolution states, Iraq is already in material breach of past U.N. demands. Iraq has aggressively pursued weapons of mass destruction, even while inspectors were inside the country. Iraq has undermined the effectiveness of weapons inspectors with ploys, delays and threats, making their work impossible and leading to four years of no inspections at all.
The world has learned from this experience an essential lesson: Inspections will not result in a disarmed Iraq unless the Iraqi regime fully cooperates.
Inspectors do not have the power to disarm an unwilling regime. They can only confirm that a government has decided to disarm itself. History has shown that when Iraq's leaders stall inspections and impede the progress, it means they have something to hide.
The resolution approved today presents the Iraqi regime with a test, a final test. Iraq must now, without delay or negotiations, fully disarm, welcome full inspections and fundamentally change the approach it has taken for more than a decade.
The regime must allow immediate and unrestricted access to every site, every document and every person identified by inspectors.
Iraq can be certain that the old game of cheat and retreat, tolerated at other times, will no longer be tolerated. Any act of delay or defiance will be an additional breach of Iraq's international obligations and a clear signal that the Iraqi regime has once again abandoned the path of voluntary compliance.
With the passage of this resolution the world must not lapse into unproductive debates over whether specific instances of Iraqi noncompliance are serious. Any Iraqi noncompliance is serious, because such bad faith will show that Iraq has no intention of disarming.
If we are to avert war, all nations must continue to pressure Saddam Hussein to accept this resolution and to comply with its obligations, and his obligation.
America will be making only one determination: Is Iraq meeting the terms of the Security Council resolution or not?
The United States has agreed to discuss any material breach with the Security Council, but without jeopardizing our freedom of action to defend our country. If Iraq fails to fully comply, the United States and other nations will disarm Saddam Hussein.
I've already met with the head of the U.N. inspections program and the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which has responsibility for nuclear matters. I've assured them that the United States will fully support their efforts, including requests for information that can help identify illegal activities and materials in Iraq. I encourage every member of the United Nations to strongly support the inspection teams.
And now, the inspectors have an important responsibility to make full use of the tools we have given them in this resolution. All patriotic Iraqis should embrace this resolution as an opportunity for Iraq to avoid war and end its isolation.
Saddam Hussein cannot hide its weapons of mass destruction from international inspectors without the cooperation of hundreds and thousands of Iraqis; those who work in the weapons program and those who are responsible for concealing the weapons. We call on those Iraqis to convey whatever information they have to inspectors, United States or other countries in whatever manner they can. By helping the process of disarmament, they help their country.
Americans recognize what is at stake. In fighting a war on terror, we are determined to oppose every source of catastrophic harm that threatens our country, our friends and our allies.
We are actively pursuing dangerous terror networks across the world. And we oppose a uniquely dangerous regime; a regime that has harbored terrorists and could supply terrorists with weapons of mass destruction; a regime that has built such terrible weapons and has used them to kill thousands; a brutal regime with a history of both reckless ambition and reckless miscalculation.
The United States of America will not live at the mercy of any group or regime that has the motive and seeks the power to murder Americans on a massive scale.
The threat to America also threatens peace and security in the Middle East and far beyond. If Iraq's dictator is permitted to acquire nuclear weapons, he could resume his pattern of intimidation and conquest and dictate the future of a vital region.
In confronting this threat, America seeks the support of the world. If action becomes necessary, we will act in the interests of the world. And America expects Iraqi compliance with all U.N. resolutions. The time has come for the Iraqi people to escape oppression, find freedom and live in hope.
I want to thank the secretary of state, Colin Powell, for his leadership, his good work and his determination over the past two months.
He's worked tirelessly and successfully for a resolution that recognizes important concerns of our Security Council partners and makes Iraq's responsibilities clear.
I also thank our ambassador to the United Nations, John Negroponte and his team and our U.N. mission in New York for their hard work and outstanding service to our country.
Secretary of State Powell's team has done a fine job.
The American people are grateful to the Security Council for passing this historic resolution. The members of the council acted with courage and took a principled stand. The United Nations has shown the kind of international leadership promised by its charter and required by our times.
Now comes the hard part. The Security Council must maintain its unity and sense of purpose, so that the Iraqi regime cannot revert to the strategies of obstruction and deception it used so successfully in the past. The outcome of the current crisis is already determined: The full disarmament of weapons of mass destruction by Iraq will occur. The only question for the Iraqi regime is to decide how.
The United States prefers that Iraq meet its obligations voluntarily, yet we are prepared for the alternative. In either case, the just demands of the world will be met.
Thank you all.
HARRIS: A very confident President Bush there in the Rose Garden with words this morning for Iraq's leadership, as well as for its people, and also for the U.N. this morning.
Let's bring in our John King, who is at the White House -- John.
KING: Leon, a very clear line there from the president. He said the world has now decided Saddam Hussein will be disarmed, and the question is now put to Saddam Hussein, Will you do that voluntarily, or will it require the use of overwhelming U.S. military force.
The president clearly voicing his skepticism that Saddam Hussein now will accept the mandate of the United Nations. But he also said, -- quote -- "the old game of cheat and retreat will not happen again."
Mr. Bush making clear that he would consider any violation of this new mandate a serious violation, and that he would not tolerate a long United Nations Security Council debate, if the inspectors come back and say there has been interference, there has been Iraqi noncompliance with this resolution, Mr. Bush making clear that he would prefer the Security Council then quickly endorse military action. But if it does not, Mr. Bush saying the United States would act on its own to disarm Saddam Hussein.
So, this president, much as his father 11 years ago, drawing his own version of a line in the sand, if you will, clearly putting the burden on Saddam Hussein, thanking the world for standing with him, but also making clear that the U.S. military stands poised to act if necessary. HARRIS: John, before we let you go, I have got to ask you this. Have you, in all the years you've covered the White House, ever been there when a week such as this, with this many significant victories, have all been combined in the matter of a couple of days?
KING: Well, the president certainly had a big political victory earlier this week, and now he is getting a diplomatic victory.
Some conservative critics saying perhaps he's giving up too much here in the context of the Security Council debate, because the United States did make a key concession. It will not launch a military strike the moment there is interference in Iraq.
It says if there is interference with the inspectors, it will await another debate in the Security Council.
Some say the president should not have given that ground, but Mr. Bush believes it is critical to have the world's support, certainly, if there is a military action, everyone expects it simply to be the United States, perhaps with Great Britain.
But this president, you have called him confident, Leon, he certainly is confident that in a very week in which he believes his agenda was ratified by the American people in the elections, after seven very frustrating weeks at the United Nations, a victory for the president there today as well.
HARRIS: Well, it's clear -- it is understandable how you can be confident when you have a united Security Council behind you. Thanks, John.
Let's go now to the U.N., our Richard Roth standing by there. Richard, we heard President Bush there with words and remarks just moments ago for the U.N., saying that there shouldn't be any debate about any Iraqi noncompliance, because any noncompliance should be considered serious.
ROTH: Yes, and after weeks of bashing the U.N. on the campaign trail, he now praised the U.N., but he said, -- quote -- "Now comes the tough part."
He's worried about unity, and unity fraying, which has happened before, especially among the big permanent members.
Several of the council members, who are speaking now, have also warned Iraq, Look, it is your final opportunity, your last chance. Iraq's ambassador here today in U.N. headquarters when approached said he had no comment on the Bush speech, on the vote. He is waiting for instructions -- Leon.
HARRIS: Richard Roth at the U.N. Thanks, Richard.
Wolf -- let's go back to Wolf Blitzer there in Washington. Wolf, what's next, do you think, for this issue, and for the president?
BLITZER: Well, there's a specific timetable, Leon, that's worked out in this resolution. If you read the fine print, it's not necessarily even all that fine. It's very, very blunt. Here is what the calendar looks like. The resolution passed today, November 8. November 15, next week, Iraq must declare by then that it accepts this U.N. Security Council resolution.
If it rejects it, then, obviously, then all bets are off, no inspections, and then the Security Council will meet again for the discussion. Everyone is anticipating the Iraqis will accept this U.N. resolution.
December 8, that's when Iraq must formally present Hans Blix, the chief U.N. weapons inspector, and Dr. Mohammed ElBaradei, the International Atomic Energy Agency chief inspector, a list of all of the programs that Iraq has involving weapons of mass destruction: biological, chemical, nuclear programs.
December 23, the Iraqis must allow that inspection to begin, the U.N. inspectors by then must be on the scene. They must be ready to go and find out if there are any cheating -- if there's any cheating going on.
The Hans Blix team says they can go as quickly as ten days, but they have to be there by December 23, assuming the Iraqis have presented that declaration of what they have, what they don't have.
February 21 is a key date. By then, assuming the inspectors have gone in, assuming they are going to those presidential sites, they're going to all the other suspected sites, by then they must formally report back to the U.N. Security Council what they found, what they didn't find, what is left to be done.
Those are key dates. And, remember, weather is important. If the U.S. is going to go to war against the Iraqis, they want to do it in January or February, March the latest, because then it starts getting very, very hot in that part of the world -- Leon.
HARRIS: You have to think Saddam Hussein is thinking the same exact thing.
Wolf Blitzer in Washington. Thanks, Wolf.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com