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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Koffi Annan Takes Questions from Reporters

Aired April 1, 2003 - 10:02   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 the United Nations.
Let's listen to Secretary-General Kofi Annan right now.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

QUESTION: The Arab ambassadors are calling for a general assembly condemnation of the military action. What are your thoughts about that, and what purpose can this serve at this point? The U.S. seems determined to forge ahead.

KOFI ANNAN, U.S. SECY.-GENERAL: I know there has been quite a lot of discussion about convening the general assembly to discuss a war. I'm not sure if they have agreed to do it or not. But obviously, there is a lot of unhappiness in this building about the war. And I'm not sure at this stage if there will be a general assembly this discussion or not. As you will recall, members had the chance to speak openly at the Security Council session.

QUESTION: Also Arab ambassadors, as well as clearly the Iraqis feel that you're not being vocal enough about what's happening in Iraq. Can you comment on that?

ANNAN: I think I've said enough about it. Before the war and even now, I've been saying a lot about the war. Obviously, they would want to see the war end. They would want the U.N. to continue its efforts to try and bring about some sort of a cease fire, and they would want the council and secretary general to be a bit more active on that front.

QUESTION: ... the occupying authorities of their responsibilities to take care of the acute humanitarian needs. How do you think that's going at this point? We see now pictures of the water trucks coming into the south. How pleased are you with what you're seeing on the humanitarian front?

ANNAN: Well, I think what my concern is the population in the cities which are besieged. You remember recently there was a question of water and electricity, and that can be a dangerous health hazard for population with a heat -- with the heat -- with the hot season coming on.

If you have no water and electricity, it can lead to sanitation problems, and I know efforts have been made by Red Cross and some of the others on the ground to get the water up and running, and that is what we would expect.

QUESTION: Thank you very much.

QUESTION: Clearly, the U.N. wants to do this carefully given that there is still a sovereign government in Iraq. But what is the U.N. prepared to do? What could the U.N. do in terms of...

ANNAN: I think I've made it quite -- for the moment, we're focusing on the humanitarian situation.

But down the line, the council will discuss this issue, and perhaps ask us to take on additional responsibilities, as we've done in other situations. There will have to be lots of discussions among council members and members states, and it is not excluded that U.N. will play an important role, but that is a question that the council will have to deal with.

QUESTION: Thank you.

ZAHN: There you have it. The secretary general taking some questions from reporters at the United Nations this morning. The headline coming out of what we heard him say. There has been some movement among some members of the general assembly to call for condemnation of the war. The secretary-general saying he's not sure whether the general assembly has agreed to that or not. He said obviously there is a lot of opposition to the war. There are a lot of people who would like to see the war end. And he said, it's his understanding that some members of the General Assembly would like to call for a cease fire, and all he would say about what role the U.N. might play in a post-war Iraq is the U.N. currently is focused on humanitarian aid through the oil-for-food program and those other talks will have to come later.

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