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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Negroponte Answers Questions at U.N.

Aired March 27, 2003 - 14:05   ET

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

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: I want to get to that in a moment but I want to go first to John Negroponte, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. He's speaking out right now.
JOHN NEGROPONTE, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO U.N.: Coalition has engaged in this effort against Iraq to enforce security council resolutions. We addressed the issue of humanitarian concerns and also expressed our hope that the resolution modifying the oil for food program would be addressed and passed as soon as possible.

QUESTION: Mr. Ambassador. Did you personally get up and leave the room during the speech to show your rejection of his statements?

NEGROPONTE: Well, I thought, I did sit through quite a long part of what he'd had to say. But I think that, I had heard enough after a certain amount of time and I didn't hear anything new in what he had to say. And of course don't accept any of the kinds of allegations and preposterous propositions that he put forward. Yes, sir.

QUESTION: Ambassador, many speeches here, including the British speech and others, mention the linkage between the Iraq situation and the need for the road map and the Middle East. What's your view of that?

NEGROPONTE: Well, just a couple of weeks ago, our President Bush reaffirmed his commitment to the road map. We certainly are very committed to the Middle East peace process now that a new government in Israel has been formed after their elections and now that a Palestinian prime minister has been selected. And I believe is in the process of seeking to form of government. We think that the perspectives for energizing or reenergizing that process are quite good. So, yes, our commitment is as strong as it has been in the past. Obviously, we talking, you asked me about linkage. We're talking about the same part of the world. Linkage is seen by some, not necessarily by others. We are pursuing both of these issues on their merits. And we think they both deserve a high priority attention of our foreign policy. And they do indeed do that.

QUESTION: Mr. Ambassador, while you were inside, the Reverend Jesse Jackson and other several other representative from religious groups were out here talking to us. And they appealed to the United Nations to help arrange a humanitarian pause like an Olympic truce so that food and water and other humanitarian aid could be delivered to the Iraqi people. What is your response to that?

NEGROPONTE: Well, I think that the most effective way to ensure the delivery of humanitarian supplies will be as the allied forces move forward, secure their objectives, secure the cities, restore the calm, security and peace to the various parts of the Iraqi nation. I think then the conditions will be created for the most expeditious and effective delivery of humanitarian supplies. For example, the United Nations at the moment is not allowing its personnel to go back into Iraq because of security conditions there. But as security gets restored, it will be easier for United Nations personnel, other countries' humanitarian personnel, and non-governmental organizations to go in and do the kind of work they need to do with respect to the humanitarian situation.

QUESTION: I assume that means, you would not -- the United States would not support such a pause?

NEGROPONTE: I think I responded by telling you what I think would be the most effective way of achieving that objective.

QUESTION: One last Spanish question...

BLITZER: We're going to leave John Negroponte of the United States Ambassador to the United Nations. He's speaking to reporters, and Ambassador Negroponte had walked out of the meeting earlier when the Iraqi ambassador to the U.N. accused the U.S. of trying to exterminate the Iraqi people. He walked out in protest.

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