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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Sens. Lieberman, McCain Respond to NATO Situation

Aired February 11, 2003 - 12:33   ET

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

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Let's go to Capitol Hill right now where some senators are speaking out following some testimony earlier today. Senator Joe Lieberman, who wants to be president of the United States, is talking.
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D), CONNECTICUT: ... by Saddam Hussein and understand it must be dealt with decisively. Most of Europe understands, as Secretary Powell said, that this tyrant will not stop developing weapons of mass destruction and deceiving the world about it until someone stops him.

The Security Council, in this regard, was clear and unequivocal in Resolution 1441, and let's not forget that it passed unanimously, as did a NATO resolution last November following Security Council Resolution 1441.

So now we've got to be firm and steadfast in backing that mandate with force if necessary. There's a wonderful quote from Sophocles, if I can remember it correctly, which was, We should not command what we cannot enforce.

And in this case, the United Nations has commanded, and if we do not stand together in enforcing what the United Nations has commanded, we will weaken that great institution. With it, in the midst of this division, I'm afraid NATO, and thereby the security of the world. The three of us returned Sunday from the annual Munich Conference on Security, and there's no doubt, as the headlines do show, that there is a crisis in the transatlantic family relationship. Both sides of the Atlantic need to tend to it, and it probably should begin with a diminishing of the hot rhetoric.

Both sides also need to remember both the common values that unite us, and the uncommon new threats that face each and every one of us.

Again, most of our friends across the Atlantic understand that. So today, we're proud to stand with the vast majority of Europe, and proud that the vast majority of Europe stands together with the United States. And we call on France, Germany, and Belgium to cease and desist from further actions that block enforcement of United Nations's resolutions that they voted for. And may, if they're not enforced, not only risk the security of the region around Saddam Hussein's Iraq and the rest of the world, but may begin to do long-term damage to NATO, which is the greatest and most powerful alliance, most successful alliance in the history of the world -- Senator McCain.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Well, I think that Senator Lieberman has pretty well described what we're trying to achieve here, and that is express the gratitude of Congress for a very courageous stand taken by our friends and allies in the region. Everybody talks about public opinion and polls for or against our involvement. The overwhelming majority of these allies of ours who we are thanking in this resolution, they are a majority of...

BLITZER: We're going to break away from Senator McCain for a moment.

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