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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Bush: U.N. Resolution Must be Upheld

Aired February 7, 2003 - 11:29   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: There you see, President Bush earlier today, this is White House tape just feeding in, President Bush earlier today with the new Secretary of the Treasury John Snow, a former Transportation department official.
Let's listen in to what he has to say.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTFIED MALE: I'm delighted to welcome you to the Treasury.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Congratulations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much.

BUSH: Good to see you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've been working hard, you know. BUSH: I'm looking forward to the official swearing in of this good man. And appreciate you joining our Cabinet.

QUESTION: Sir, can you tell us what you plan to do to win over France, Germany, China, Russia, other allies that are still skeptical about your need to confront Saddam?

BUSH: The Security Council unanimously passed a resolution called 1441 that said Saddam Hussein must completely disarm. Saddam Hussein has not disarmed. Colin Powell made that case very clear.

And now the members of the Security Council can decide whether or not that resolution will have any force, whether it means anything. This is a defining moment for the U.N. Security Council.

If the Security Council were to allow a dictator to lie and deceive, the Security Council will be weakened. I'm confident that when the members assess their responsibilities and the responsibilities of the U.N. that they will understand that 1441 must be upheld in the fullest.

QUESTION: They don't seem to be buying that argument quite yet.

QUESTION: Mr. President, some in Congress say you're not paying enough attention to North Korea due to the Iraq showdown. Are you concerned that North Korea could carry out the preemptive strike it has threatened? And are you willing to use military force if you can't resolve the crisis diplomatically?

BUSH: All options are on the table, but I believe we can solve this diplomatically.

BUSH: I spoke to Jiang Zemin today about this very subject.

And I will continue working diplomatically to convince Kim Jong Il that he will be further isolated if he continues to develop a nuclear program.

I talked to the president of China and reminded him that we have a joint responsibility to uphold the goal that we talked about in Crawford, that goal being a nuclear-weapons-free peninsula; that we have responsibilities, joint responsibilities.

That Russia has a responsibility, I explained that to President Putin the other day when I spoke to him. And we will continue -- when I spoke to Prime Minister Koizumi recently, I talked about the North Korean issue.

And we will continue to work diplomatically to make it very clear to Kim Jong Il that should he expect any kind of aid and help for his people that he must comply with the world's demand that he not develop a nuclear weapon.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) threat of Korea to strike, sir?

BUSH: No, all options are on the table, of course. But as I said many times, and I still believe this, this will be solved diplomatically, and we will continue to work diplomatically. As I mentioned this morning, I did just that this morning with the president of China.

QUESTION: Mr. President, given the facts as Secretary Powell laid them out (OFF-MIKE), do you really see any means of disarming Saddam other than (OFF-MIKE)?

BUSH: You know, that's up to Saddam Hussein. I mean, the record's poor at best. The man has been told to disarm for 12 long years. He's ignored the demands of the free world. And we passed another resolution, and for 90 days he's -- the best way I can describe it is, played a game with the inspectors.

And so the U.N. Security Council has got to make up its mind soon as to whether or not its word means anything.

And, you know, if -- you know, I've never felt we needed a resolution. 1441 speaks very clearly. It talks about serious consequences if he doesn't disarm. However, I said yesterday that, you know, it'd be helpful to have a resolution, so long as it demands compliance of 1441, confirms the spirit of 1441.

But, you know, Saddam Hussein is -- he just treated -- he's treated the demands of the world as a joke up to now. But it's his choice to make. He's the person that gets to decide war and peace.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

BUSH: Well, listen, this is a guy who, you know, who was asked to declare his weapons. Said he didn't have any. This is a person who we have proven to the world is in -- is deceiving everybody. I mean, he's a master at it. He's a master of deception.

As I said yesterday, he'll probably try it again. He'll probably try to lie his way out of compliance or deceive or put out some false statement.

BUSH: But, you know, if he wanted to disarm he would have disarmed. We know what a disarmed regime looks like.

And as I heard somebody say the other day, "Well, how about a beefed-up inspection regime?" Well, the role of inspectors is to sit there and verify whether or not he's disarmed, not to play hide-and- seek in a country the size of California.

If Saddam Hussein was interested in peace and interested in complying with U.N. Security Council resolutions, he would have disarmed. And yet for 12 years, plus 90 days, he has tried to avoid disarmament by lying and deceiving.

Yes, last question. Then we got to go swear the man in.

QUESTION: Sir, if the Security Council doesn't go along with you, what happens next?

BUSH: I have said that if Saddam Hussein does not disarm, we will lead a coalition to disarm him. And I mean it.

Thank you all.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LIN: And there you heard it from the president of the United States on the threat of weapons of mass destruction, as he perceives it. And regarding Iraq, he says that the U.N. Security Council has reached a defining moment when it comes to Saddam Hussein, urging them to vote for a second resolution authorizing military action.

Clearly, the president, though, saying that the United States is prepared to act on its own if necessary. But urging the U.N. Security Council to stand up for itself and stand up for resolution 1441 and what it means.

North Korea, he says, he still believes that they can be dealt with diplomatically when it come toes the development of nuclear weapons.

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