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Iraq Releases Weapons Document.

Aired December 7, 2002 - 07:29   ET


MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Meanwhile at the Information Ministry we have CNN correspondent, Rym Brahimi, who watching things from there.
Rym, few more details from Nic, 11,000 some-odd pages, more or less in keeping with what we have heard. To say this is a big challenge to go through a bit of an understatement, isn't it?

RYM BRAHIMI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely. A big challenge to go through, not only for the Iraqis, who say that it's been a lot of hard work for them to put out this document, but also now it's going to be in the hands of the inspectors, Miles, and they're going to be able -- they're going to have to sift through those thousands of pages to be able to verify the declaration.

So that means that they're going to have to go through every single item that could mention a site or another and then go and check to see whether indeed there is what Iraq says there is or isn't in that -- in that declaration. And that, I understand, is going to take weeks and weeks.

Now at the same time, here at the Ministry of Information Miles, we've had another surprising bit of news. We've been told by the Iraqi news agency, the state-run official news agency here, that President Saddam Hussein is going to address the Kuwaiti people in about four and a half hours from now.

Now, it's not clear what he's going to say for now. What we know is that in the past year, since the U.S. has stepped up the threats against Iraq, and its threat to actually change the regime here, well Iraq has been working very hard on its diplomatic ties with the rest of the Arab world. It still doesn't have diplomatic ties with Kuwait since it invaded the oil rich state back in 1990 and after the Gulf War, but it has managed to resume most of its ties with the rest of the neighbors here -- Miles.

O'BRIEN: Interesting -- the Kuwaiti people you said -- and I heard that correctly he's going to address the Kuwaiti people -- do you have any insights as to what he would be saying to the Kuwaiti people, aside from oh, sorry about that little incursion 12 years ago?

BRAHIMI: Well I think -- I doubt that -- that -- very much -- that might come up again. I'm not sure, though. I mean, what we do know is that about a week ago there was -- there were reports that an Iraqi vessel had fired on a Kuwaiti vessel and that was denied by the Iraqi Foreign Ministry. I'm not sure if it would have anything to do with that. I'm not sure if it would have anything to do with -- there is still quite a few outstanding issues, Miles, between Kuwait and Iraq -- one of them being claims by Kuwait that there is still Kuwaiti prisoners of war here. Another one about the archives that Iraq had taken from Kuwait when it invaded Kuwait 12 years ago. It restored them, it returned them, but Kuwait has said that it hadn't returned everything, so there are a few issues outstanding and again it might just be part of Iraq's effort to actually boost its relations with the entire region especially in sight of all this ministry build up in the area -- Miles.

O'BRIEN: Rym, one final question before you get away. There you are at the Ministry of Information which probably is a bit of a euphemism -- Ministry of Propaganda, maybe Disinformation, perhaps is more apt. Nevertheless, I'm always curious. What do the Iraqi people know now as evening sets over Baghdad about all that's going on right now?

BRAHIMI: Well, they've been told that the inspections have been going well. A lot of the declarations by people like U.N. Inspector General Kofi Annan has said that so far the inspections were going well. That was very much trumpeted in the local media. They've also been told that there's no reason for the U.S. to bomb but they're also saying that -- they're also saying that people here -- that while the U.S. is looking for an excuse and that Iraq mustn't give it one.

Now, there've been quite a few interesting editorials in the past few days blaming the United -- accusing the United States -- of not really being interested in disarmament. Today in the newspaper here you can see this Miles. Uncle Sam's hat as a prison, basically, imprisoning the United Nations building. And in particular the United Nations Security Council -- this basically very much came to light that the United States is trying to influence the other members of the U.N. Security Council who otherwise would probably be willing to give Iraq a clean bill of health -- Miles.

O'BRIEN: CNN's Rym Brahimi, thanks very much. Stay close to the lines, will you, because we'll be checking back with you all throughout the morning as this story unfolds.

CALLAWAY: President Bush of course watching very closely these latest developments this morning. When we come back, we will hear from our correspondents in the White House. Much more ahead.

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