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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Iraqi Vice President Holds News Conference

Aired April 1, 2003 - 09:50   ET

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

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news out of Iraq right now. The Iraqi vice president is holding a news conference. We're going to dip into that right now.
Let's listen.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

TAHA YASSIN RAMADAN, IRAQI VICE PRESIDENT (through translator): ... which has been foiled, has been defeated, and without any sacrifices on the part of our fighters.

Let me address certain aspects which -- with political nature, and aspects to do with the mobilizations that are directly important to this. The first topic, I find that media networks and some official sources still talk about this topic, and repeated by many of the enemy sources, military and political, American and British...

(through translator): ... regarding the weapons of mass destruction. The excuse that they use and some countries are still being dragged into this. Are we talking about the question of the inspectors and the resolution 1441 to legitimize aggression against Iraq. We still hear that they're still getting some information, and that there is still the possibility that they would find some of these weapons, and their explanation that they found some of the protective gears against the chemical agents, they have no connection with this question.

And we hear from some countries, few countries who have diplomatic representation, who are now telling us that if you even have some of these agents, do not use them, because that would harm you, of course (ph). I tell them all that you know well that Iraq has no such weapons. And it is a it is a shame and shameful to keep on repeating these claims, which is now easier excused to achieve this conspiracy and to execute this aggression against Iraq and Arab nations.

My explanation for repeating this claim and many of fair-minded people of -- arriving to this conclusion, that in repeating this claim regarding the possibility of possessing weapons of mass destruction, is to have the aggressors -- that they might even bring some of these weapons to Iraq, and then claims that they found it -- and that they found it in some area or some shelter or some depot.

We are warning against that, and we lie the responsibility on those countries not to support such claims. This way and this behavior is not alien for these aggressors. They have attacked residential areas, so such behavior is not unexpected from them.

They bombed residential areas, while they claimed that these areas or locations are being used by military forces. Then they claim that -- also they claim that the Iraqis are bombarding and hitting their own residential areas.

ZAHN: For those of you just joining us, we dipped into a news conference the Iraqi vice president is holding from Baghdad at this hour, repeating a claim we've heard before. The Iraqi vice president saying the country has no weapons of mass destruction, and that the U.S. is using that as a conspiracy, he said, surrounding that as a pretext for war. And just as we were leaving the news conference he was making the point that the charges that Iraqis have harmed their own civilians are false. That, of course, is a charge the U.S. government, as well as the British government vehemently deny.

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