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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Tariq Aziz Press Conference

Aired March 25, 2003 - 11:17   ET

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

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Earlier today, you lead us into a news conference by the deputy prime minister of Iraq, Tariq Aziz, and apparently, he held one just a short while, and we're going to dip into a little of that as it is replayed on our Iraqi TV. Let's listen.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

TARIQ AZIZ, DEP. PRIME MINISTER OF IRAQ (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): And they think that people forgot what happened at that time of deceit to the public -- international public opinion. When they started to talk about the weapons of mass destruction, we know, and we always knew that was fabrication and lies, and the main reason behind their claims and their campaign -- the media campaign -- we told them officially deny their claims. Myself and others of the Iraqi officials told them that you are -- that if you are really concerned about the possession of such weapons, one way or another, let us talk about this matter, and, as you remember, we extended an open invitation to Tony Blair when he published his famous dossier.

And we invited the media in the United Kingdom's -- the kingdom to come to Iraq and to verify the situation and to confirm or deny or find out otherwise what was published in the Tony Blair -- to investigate that published report. Even for America, we extended an invitation to the U.S. Congress and that they choose whoever they like and as many as they like of experts and equipment to come to Iraq and to investigate if there were anything of what they claim to be present in Iraq. And we knew it was clear that it was a pretext allied with political agendas and objectives.

Then they started to talk about the return of the inspectors. And when they -- when we invited the British and the Americans to come to Iraq to verify, they rejected and they said, "It is not our duty, it's not our job. It's the job of the technical experts. And we cannot evaluate the situation accurately."

And in New York, we invited the secretary general of the United Nations to send the inspectors to Iraq and you and every person and their many people -- many peoples in the world, even members of the Security Council, and even the -- amongst the Arabs. They said that that was an important step, and that was the right thing for Iraq to choose.

But the U.S. and Britain, they said, "No, the inspectors cannot go to Iraq." At that time the -- Mr. ElBaradei -- but the Americans stopped the return of the inspectors and imposed on the Security Council a new resolution, this infamous 1441. It is necessary to recall the facts in the previous time. First, all the articles of -- through which we can implement the resolution, it was very hard to implement the resolution in totality. But the response of that...

ZAHN: You've been listening to the Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz lash out at the United States, saying their allegations that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction are -- quote -- "fabrications and lies."

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