CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Bush to Iraq: Disarm
Aired November 8, 2002 - 12:04 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Today's vote does set in motion a calendar of events. The two most important being mandatory Iraqi acceptance of the U.N.'s terms no later than November 15. That's one week from today. Just three days after that, U.N. inspectors are scheduled to get back to work after almost four years on the sidelines.
Back at the White House, in case you missed it, the message was abundantly clear, disarm or we'll do it for you. The alternative, says President Bush, is unthinkable.
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GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 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.
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BLITZER: CNN's senior White House correspondent John King has more now on another stunning victory in what's surely been a blockbuster week for President Bush and his aides.
John, were they surprised that they managed to get a unanimous vote on this resolution?
JOHN KING, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, they were surprised in the end at the unanimous vote. As recently as this morning, they did not believe Syria would vote in favor of the resolution. They did believe Syria would abstain and they were going to declare that, in and of itself, a victory; but weeks and weeks of sometimes very frustrating diplomacy paying off.
Secretary of State Powell made a direct appeal to Syria's Foreign Minister saying he believed the best way to resolve this peacefully without military force was for Saddam Hussein not only to get a unanimous vote from the Security Council on this resolution, but for Saddam Hussein to see that a fellow Arab nation, like Syria, was standing with the United States and the other members of the council. We are told by sources 150 phone calls in all by the secretary over the last seven weeks, including one about 20 minutes before he walked his daughter down the aisle at her wedding this past weekend. That phone call, on a cell phone, resolved one of the key disputes using the term material breach to describe Iraq's violations of the U.N. resolution. So heavy handed high intensity diplomacy by the Bush administration. And you heard the president today, he believes he has a critical victory here.
BLITZER: And the U.S. government, the intelligence community, the Pentagon, they're going to be helping those U.N. weapons inspectors when they go in with intelligence information. Talk a little bit about that.
KING: Hans Blix, the chief weapons inspector, and Mr. Baradei, he's the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, they were both here at the White House a little more than a week ago for meetings with President Bush, the vice president, Condoleezza Rice and Secretary Powell. They were assured at those meetings that when they went into Iraq they would get top shelf U.S. intelligence on suspected weapons sites. Much of this, U.S. officials tell us, they believe to be underground at those so-called presidential palaces, very difficult to gain access to.
President Bush told Mr. Blix, we are told, that he would share the most sensitive U.S. intelligence and that in return he wanted the inspectors to be aggressive from day one. If Saddam says he will let the inspectors back in, the White House message to those teams is put him immediately to the test by going to the most sensitive locations.
BLITZER: John King over at the White House. John, thanks very much.
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