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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Speeches at U.N. Will Include Annan's Displeasure With Preemptive Policy

Aired September 23, 2003 - 10:07   ET

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

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: And right now we're going to Great Britain where Prime Minister Tony Blair has been the Bush administration's most visible and vocal ally in the war against Iraq. It is a position that has put the prime minister at odds with many in his own country.
Let's check in with Christiane Amanpour as President Bush get's ready to make his speech. And, Christiane, I want to apologize in advance. If the secretary-general takes to the podium we will have to interrupt you. But we'll let you get started here.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: OK, Paula. Very quickly to say that, yes, Blair was the chief supporter. His troops are in Baghdad. They fought the Iraq war.

But British support has declined since the end of the war. Now a majority of British saying that the war was not justified. It peaked at 63 percent support in April after the war. It went down to about 51 percent in the summer. And now it's at 38 percent. Only 38 percent believe the war as justified.

And it is because, according to the poll, in "The Guardian"/ICM today, that they have not found weapons of mass destruction which was given as the main cause for the war, nor have they brought stability to Iraq as is being viewed from outside, and nor have they been very, very supportive of what has been coming out in the Hutton inquiry. So all of that is playing right now.

Also, as we await Kofi Annan's speech, "The Financial Times", the respected newspaper that in fact supported the war has given quite a lot of play to -- previewing Kofi Anna's speech. He is apparently scheduled to launch a little bit of a broadside against the issue of preemptive strikes, the preemptive that the Bush administration articulated more than a year or so ago. So that has been given quite a lot of prominence.

In addition, the fact the president is going back to the United Nations. They do believe he'll get the required number of votes for a new resolution. However, the critical unanswered question is will he get the desperately needed multinational force? Will the rest of the world step up and put troops in to keep the peace? That is being given a lot of play over here -- Paula.

ZAHN: And of course, that's something that has been the subject of a much debate over here and the key question today, which is why there is so much at stake for the president today when he addresses the general assembly. Christiane, thanks you so much -- Aaron.

AARON BROWN, HOST: The French obviously have a stake in all of this, the French President Jacques Chirac will speak shortly after President Bush does at the United Nations here in New York.

Jim Bitterman is in Paris to talk a bit about what the French want from -- want to hear from the president. What they want from the United Nations in Iraq. Jim, good morning.

JIM BITTERMAN, CNN SENIOR EUROPEAN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Aaron. In fact, the French have said and made it pretty clear they will at least this time around, as John King reported, not veto any resolution, they're not threatening to veto any resolution.

However, they said -- President Chirac said in an interview over the weekend, in fact, if France is to vote for any kind of U.S. resolution it has to contain three things. First, it has to turn over sovereignty to the governing council in Iraq in a very short period of time with a fixed deadline. Second, that real power changes hand over the course of the next three to six months. And thirdly, the U.N. gets more of a say at what's going on in Iraq.

So those are the three conditions to get a favorable vote without a veto being mentioned. Then the fact probably what's best that the United States can hope for is an abstention on any resolution that they get, which, of course, would not block the U.S. from getting its way with the Security Council.

There is kind of a spirit of compromise. I think Jacques Chirac has gone to New York with a spirit of compromise saying that, for instance, he is not going to veto but also coming to what I guess is passive acceptance of this governing council which was basically set up by the United States. France originally thought that should be set up by the United Nations. So there does seem to be some movement there.

President Chirac also left the door open on the idea of perhaps, eventually sending some troops to Iraq. Not a lot but a little bit -- Aaron.

BROWN: Jim, thank you very much. Jim Bitterman in Paris.

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