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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Iraqi Information Minister Holds Press Conference

Aired April 2, 2003 - 06:31   ET

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

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: We are monitoring now a press conference out of Baghdad. Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, the Iraqi information minister, talking now, and we believe he just said that U.S. troops have not crossed the Tigris River, are not getting closer to Baghdad.
Let's listen in to what else he has to say.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

QUESTION: ... religious leaders (UNINTELLIGIBLE) calling for these people to come together and seek out (UNINTELLIGIBLE) so that this tragedy can end. What is the international community doing about it?

MOHAMMED SAEED AL-SAHAF, IRAQI INFORMATION MINISTER: Well, as you know, madam, the protest movements all over the world are gaining momentum day after day.

And as for the holy places and the most precious historical places, like Babylon, Hetra (ph) and Assyrian antiquities in Nenenva (ph), and all over the world or all over Iraq, in the south, Ud (ph) and the place of prophet Abraham and all other historical places in Iraq, his excellency, the minister of culture, Mr. ah-Madi (ph), had sent letters to the UNESCO, to all associations and societies concerning the antiquities, historical places, and calling on all of them in order to take their role to protect historical places in Iraq.

As for the religious holy places, and in particular (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Karbala, there is a strong movement, and acting this movement will be interpreted into practical steps against those villains.

Please.

QUESTION: Mr. Minister, the Americans, the military are claiming that it had taken away from you one of the prisoners that you made at the very beginning of the war. They are talking about this female military, and she was put in a hospital, and are saying that a commando, an American commando, went to the hospital and took away that woman. Will you confirm that?

AL-SAHAF: I don't have the real account of what had happened. But I don't -- there has been an injured woman soldier there, and that had been taken care of in Nasiriya since I think more than a week. Let us wait and see whether their account of -- their story is true or not. Thank you very much.

COSTELLO: As you can see, the press conference has ended in Baghdad with the information minister, Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, saying that U.S. troops have not crossed the Tigris River, are not closer to Baghdad.

He was asked a question about Private Jessica Lynch, and he really didn't answer it, or so it seemed.

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