CNN BREAKING NEWS
Long Awaited Iraqi Documents in Hands of United Nations
Aired December 7, 2002 - 07:05 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CATHERINE CALLAWAY, CNN ANCHOR: Of course, the U.N. now getting their hands on that lengthy Iraqi document, a long-awaited document.
Let's go to CNN's Michael Okwu, who's standing by at the United Nations. What's the latest from there, Michael?
MICHAEL OKWU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, long awaited is really the appropriate way to put it. There's been a heightened sense of anticipation now for at least a week, but even when that document finally make its -- makes its way here to the United Nations, members of the Security Council won't necessarily immediately see it.
OKWU (voice-over): The U.N. Security Council will not get a chance to review Iraq's declaration of its most dangerous weapons until chief weapons inspector Hans Blix does. And in the words of a key diplomat here, "That may take some time."
Referring to the document's potentially sensitive information, Blix said he did not want to provide a manual for weapons of mass destruction.
HANS BLIX, CHIEF U.N. WEAPONS INSPECTOR: I think all the governments in the council are aware that they should not have access to anything that anyone else doesn't have access to. So if any parts relate to (UNINTELLIGIBLE), none of them would like to have it.
OKWU: Western diplomats tell CNN that Russia, the United States, and other countries were concerned that detailed documents on how to manufacture weapons could fall into the wrong hands, and giving out such information could violate international weapons treaties.
BLIX: There will be large parts that will be in Arabic, and as we understand it now, it's unlikely that anything will be in CD-ROMs. So we will have to achieve -- attain that, and that's a bit of mechanical work to have it translated. We have a translator standing by...
OKWU: Blix says the document will run some 10,000 pages. Though council members hope to hear from Blix by Tuesday, about when they will get ahold of the document, a source says Blix will probably give them an initial assessment the week of the 16th.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The point is, does it disclose their programs? Does it name the people? Does it identify the facilities? OKWU: Iraq is required to include all past and present chemical, biological, and nuclear programs, as well as programs for long-range ballistics missiles. Blix said he's also expecting to read about new dual-use programs, or civilian programs in these areas that can be diverted for military use.
Iraq's ambassador said the document will prove Iraq is clean.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We said again and again that we have no more destruction weapons at all. Everything has been destroyed, and we have no intention to do that again. So Iraq is clean of any kind of mass destruction weapons.
OKWU: As this chapter of the waiting game comes to a close in Baghdad, another one reopens here at the United Nations, Catherine.
CALLAWAY: Michael, is there concern by the Security Council that by the time these documents get into their hands, that they will have been censored?
OKWU: Well, there is concern that they will have been censored. But the fact is that chief weapons inspector Hans Blix is taking his marching orders from the Security Council, so they pretty much have come to an agreement that Hans Blix needs what he -- has to do what he has to do.
The main concern is that, of course, the diplomats here at the United Nations take their marching orders from the capitals, and the capitals all along, the thinking was that they were going to match up to their intelligence agencies, match up their own independent information with information provided in the document. That way they'd be in a better position to assess whether Baghdad was being completely complicity in all of this.
The fact is, that is going to be much harder to do if member of -- key member states of the Security Council cannot see all sections of this document.
CALLAWAY: All right, Michael, thank you. I know you'll be standing by with us this morning. That's Michael Okwu at the U.N.
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