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Marc Grossman Interview by BBC

Interview by Michele Husian of BBC-TV

Marc Grossman , Under Secretary for Political Affairs

Washington, DC October 3, 2002

(1:50 p.m. EDT)

QUESTION: Discussions among UN Security Council members about a resolution on Iraqi weapons inspections are ongoing. Under Secretary Marc Grossman is one of the diplomats sent to argue the American case in Moscow and Paris. His actual title is Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. I asked him if the US was prepared to block the inspectors' return.

MR. GROSSMAN: Without a new resolution, we can't see how these inspectors could go back in. For example, if they can't go into presidential sites, if they can't go into sensitive sites, what good are they doing? Their objective is not to inspect; it's to disarm. And that's why we need a new resolution. There haven't been inspectors there in four years. I can only imagine what's been going on there the last four years.

QUESTION: It's clear, though, that the US is pushing for a very, very tough resolution. Is there any room for compromise in the US position? Because the charge would be that this is a document that's designed to fail.

MR. GROSSMAN: I don't think it's designed to fail at all. It's designed to achieve Iraqi disarmament. What President Bush did on the 12th of September in going to the United Nations was to say this is not about Iraq and America; this is about Iraq and the international community; resolution after resolution has been defied by Iraq.

What we want to do is have a resolution that's got three parts: find him in material breach; make sure there's a strong inspections regime; and have some consequences if he doesn't live up to his obligations. I don't think that's out of bounds at all.

QUESTION: Well, you say the US stands firmly with the UN, but the fact is that the resolution that we're going to get from Congress and that's being talked about here in Washington doesn't actually require President Bush to get UN approval.

MR. GROSSMAN: Our position has always been that a United Nations resolution is very, very desirable. But I think as the President and the Secretary and others of our leaders have said, if it must, the United States will act alone. However, that is not our purpose, and the resolution agreed to yesterday by the President and the leadership of the Senate and the House talks very importantly about the United Nations. The President of the United States did not declare war on the 12th of September; he declared purpose. And what was that? It was to strengthen the United Nations.


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