LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES
U.S. Resolution Falls Short In U.N.
Aired August 21, 2003 - 20:05 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm now also joined by Richard Holbrooke, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations to help us better understand what took place at the U.N. today.
Not a very good day for Colin Powell, was it?
RICHARD HOLBROOKE, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UNITED NATIONS: Not a good day for the United States.
I think Bill Cohen, my former Cabinet colleague, put it exactly right when he said that we need to try to bring the international community in. And that means a little flexibility for the U.N. What Colin Powell did today at the U.N. was come to New York and offer the same resolution, essentially, that we'd offered two weeks ago and portray it as a tribute to the fallen and great and brave Sergio Vieira de Mello and the other U.N. people.
This created a very, very unfortunate attitude at the U.N. among other nation states.
ZAHN: How so?
HOLBROOKE: Including many countries that want to help us.
Well, they were offended by it. Now, what is the answer to this? As Bill Cohen just said to you, we need to internationalize the effort. We have to. We are not going to defend the U.N. people. The U.N. was playing an indispensable role in support of American foreign policy. Sergio Vieira de Mello was a Brazilian working for the U.N., but everything he did, working closely with Jerry Bremer in Baghdad, was in support of the U.S.
And the attack on the U.N. was an attack on the U.S., because they only went after that building because it was a softer target. Those people are now going to be targets again. They can't be left unprotected. The U.S. cannot add the additional burden of protecting them. So, as Bill Cohen just told you, we need international force.
In order to get that, the U.S. is going to have to make a deal, an easy deal, a deal that any diplomat can make with some of the other countries. We should encourage Kofi Annan and his colleagues to create a resolution in the Security Council which creates a U.N. protective force for itself that operates as a separate command within the overall American umbrella.
Secretary Powell said today at the U.N. that this would violate the unity-of-command principle. With all due respect to a great American hero who was a soldier, I don't understand that. We have violated that principle in Afghanistan already, with NATO on one side and the U.S. on the other. We can do it in Iraq. And we need to do something fast. And I hope, by next week, we will have a better resolution.
ZAHN: Walk us through what some of the challenges are in trying to cobble together these deals you're talking about to get these other countries on board.
HOLBROOKE: Paula, every single diplomat I talked to, including most of the American officials in New York and Washington, in private understand that a compromise is well within reach.
Kofi Annan needs the 900 U.N. people, all of whom are at grave risk and underprotected in Baghdad, aided. What is required is a simple resolution, not the one we're supporting now, but one which invites the international community not to serve inside the present command, because some countries won't do it. As Bill Cohen said, they're 22 countries, but most of them are piddling, small, little contingents.
Bring in an international group, not U.N. blue helmets, but an international, multinational force. I'll even tell you who I think should head it. If I were able to structure this, I would bring in the Norwegians to lead it, because the Norwegians are members of NATO. They're very close to the United States. Secretary Rumsfeld is very close to the Norwegian foreign minister. She's a very strong and impressive foreign minister.
And the Norwegians are also very strong supporters of the U.N. And they gave Kofi Annan and the U.N. the Nobel Peace Prize. So Norway is perfect for this. They have good troops. Bring them in as the core of an international force that just has one mission, protect the U.N. Then the U.N. can get on with the job and we can square this circle.
ZAHN: Based on the rumblings you're hearing at the U.N. and what Bill Cohen just talked about, the challenges of bringing these forces together will take months, he said.
ZAHN: Do you think it could be done quicker than that?
HOLBROOKE: A multinational force, as opposed to a U.N.-commanded force, can be assembled in a matter of days or weeks.
Out of existing forces, forward-deployed NATO forces, Indian forces, you could have your first forces in the country very rapidly. There are already 100 Norwegians in the country as mine-clearers. This is not -- this won't take as long as Bill thinks.
ZAHN: Richard Holbrooke, I wonder if he's listening to you right now. HOLBROOKE: I don't know.
ZAHN: He's probably already left the studio.
ZAHN: Thank you for joining us tonight.
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