CNN BREAKING NEWS
Fleischer Speaks on Iraq's Need to Comply With U.N. Resolution
Aired January 7, 2003 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: The White House press secretary, Ari Fleischer, is speaking about this subject right now. I want to listen in, hear what he has to say.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
QUESTION: You continue to tell us that the president is very skeptical that the Iraqis will cooperate. So, in the event that they do, as they have so far, do you have a plan B? What happens if this actually doesn't turn up anything, then what do you do?
ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Again, I would urge you to wait until the president's speech this afternoon, and we will see precisely what the president says. And then there's also this interest and question about what will Iraq do when they have to honor the United Nations resolution and provide a list of their weapons that they hold in violation of United Nations resolutions. It's up to Saddam Hussein to produce that list
QUESTION: You're assuming in your answer that they have weapons of mass destruction which they're hiding. They say they do not.
QUESTION: You say that they do.
FLEISHER: I think the history of the people who accept Saddam Hussein at face value and take his word for accurate is one of disappointment, because they have been deceived. Saddam Hussein does not exactly have a track record of telling the world the truth. So, he, on December 8, has to indicate whether or not he has weapons. Let's see what he says. If he declares he has none, then we will know that Saddam Hussein is once again misleading the world.
QUESTION: How would you know?
FLEISHER: We have intelligence information about what Saddam Hussein possesses.
QUESTION: So, you say that you do have information that he has...
FLEISHER: Well, I think it's no secret. We've said many times, and you've heard the president say it repeatedly, that he has chemical and biological weapons and he has missiles that can reach in excess of 150 kilometers -- all three of which are violations of his sworn commitments to the United Nations.
QUESTION: One quick follow-up. What happens on December 8?
FLEISHER: December 8 will begin -- it will mark the beginning of a process, a process of verification to find out whether or not Saddam Hussein is indeed telling the truth, and whether or not he has indeed disarmed. That will mark the beginning of that process. If Saddam Hussein indicates that he has weapons of mass destruction and that he is violating United Nations resolutions, then we will know that Saddam Hussein again deceived the world. If he says he doesn't have any, then I think that we will find out whether or not Saddam Hussein is saying something that we believe will be verifiably false.
QUESTION: What's the process? What do you mean?
BLITZER: Well, White House press secretary, Ari Fleisher, explaining why next Sunday is an important day in this entire showdown with Iraq, that's the day the Iraqis must inform the United Nations weapons inspectors what capabilities they have in nuclear, chemical, biological weapons, as well as in missiles -- ballistic missiles capable of delivering those kinds of weapons.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com