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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Koffi Annan Answers Questions at the U.N.

Aired April 10, 2003 - 10:00   ET

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

LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: And that live picture is now coming from the U.N., Secretary General Kofi Annan.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

QUESTION: ... by their inaction in allowing lawlessness and chaos and looting to go on. Is that a violation of the convention, and what should they be doing to clear up the situation?

ANNAN: Let me first say that, from what we have seen in the reports, it appears there's no functioning government in Iraq at the moment. We also saw the scenes of jubilation, but, of course, when you think of the casualties, both military and civilian, the Iraqis have paid a heavy price for this. And I've also seen -- we've seen scenes of looting, and, obviously, law and order must be a major concern.

Regarding your question, I think that the council has also reaffirmed that the Hague Regulation and the Geneva Conventions applies to this conflict and that the coalition has a responsibility for the welfare of the people in this area, and I'm sure that will be respected.

QUESTION: Secretary General, why did you call in Ambassador Aldouri on Monday? And what do you understand his status at the moment to be?

ANNAN: I don't know what his status is, but I did talk to him on Monday. We reviewed the situation in Baghdad and what was happening. He didn't have much information. I don't know where he is or what his status is at the moment, but naturally we did talk about what happens, depending on the evolution of things on the ground.

QUESTION: Did he ask at that point for asylum or discuss the question of asylum or potential need for protection in any way?

ANNAN: No, he didn't ask for an asylum or protection. He had indicated sometime earlier that he and his staff sometimes felt harassed and followed by local authorities and police. This was sometime ago, and I think we had raised it with the authorities and that has stopped. When I saw him on Monday he didn't ask me for help with his status.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) you said in your report on Cyprus that you don't see soon to take an initiative. Could you elaborate why on that? ANNAN: Well, I need to see a genuine desire and change on the part of all the parties to want to settle this issue. I think in the report I made it clear why we didn't make progress and what I believe needs to be done for us to move forward.

I also indicated that when I see a change in attitude and a genuine desire to move forward on all sides, I will be prepared to see what I can do to help.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary General, do you believe there will be a role for weapons inspectors in the aftermath of the conflict in Iraq? And how long do you think it would take for a resolution to pass to lift sanctions?

ANNAN: I think on the question of the weapons inspectors, the mandate is still valid. It's only suspended because it became inoperable on account of the war. And I would expect Mr. Blix and ElBaradei to be able to return as soon as it is possible, and I think they are the ones with the mandate to disarm Iraq. And as when the situation permits, they should go back to resume their work. As to the question of lifting of the sanctions, I know there has been some preliminary talk about it, but the council has not really discussed it.

QUESTION: You said it appears that there's no functioning government in Iraq, if I heard you correct. It's kind of a little bit low here.

ANNAN: Yes.

QUESTION: What does that mean in practical terms as far as how the U.N. deals with an entity in Iraq, the future of an Iraq authority? What does that mean?

ANNAN: These are the things we need to sort out in the next few days.

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: And there have you it, the secretary general of the U.N. making some brief remarks to the press, taking a few questions from reporters, confirming that he believes there is no functioning government in Iraq. He says the Iraqis have paid a heavy price for that, and that law and order must be a huge concern, and then when asked about what he thought the ultimate role of weapons inspectors might be, he added that he believed that Mohammed ElBaradei and Hans Blix should get back to the country as soon as possible, that their mandate is still valid, but suspended because of the war. Some interesting words coming from Secretary-General Kofi Annan today.

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