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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Officials Dismayed About Transatlantic Rift

Aired March 7, 2003 - 10:17   ET

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

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: As we await the start of this critical U.N. Security Council meeting momentarily, we can report this: the Bush administration, of course, is making it very clear that the time for diplomacy, as far as Iraq is concerned, is virtually up. The Secretary of State Colin Powell is continuing his last-minute lobbying over at the United Nations as the Security Council prepares for this diplomatic showdown.
Our State Department correspondent, Andrea Koppel, is standing by in New York with more.

Andrea, the stakes, of course, are enormous. But based on what you're hearing, have you seen or heard of a split -- a serious split between the U.S. and the largest of its NATO allies, France and Germany, in particular? Do state department officials think this is virtually unprecedented?

ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN STATE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT: They do, Wolf. In fact, many officials say that they are really dismayed, they are shocked. And incredibly disappointed about the current transatlantic split which they say is unprecedented.

And in fact, they feel that many Americans, in fact, perhaps don't even recognize just how deep the rift has become. But as you know, since the last time Secretary of State Powell was here for the last Blix report a few weeks back, the U.S. -- the Bush administration acknowledges that it really has lost diplomatic ground, not just with France, Russia, and Germany and China who have been opposed to this all along, but with other members of the Security Council, and that is why you are hearing privately, and in fact, publicly, to a certain degree, some officials using the word "compromise."

That is a word that they would never have used just a few weeks ago. Just last week, the U.S. introduced its resolution, the second resolution, which implicitly authorizes war against Iraq over strong objections from most of the Security Council. And in the intervening days, they've been strong-arming, they've been cajoling, they have been trying to make various deals, Wolf, in the hopes of narrowing the difference. They've tried to customize, if you will, tailor-make this second resolution to try to fit all of the members, and that is what Secretary Powell has been involved in now for the last number of days, and what he'll continue to do after the Blix report -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Andrea, stand by.

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