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Sydney: transcript of doorstop interview: UN weapons inspectors' report.



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PRIME MINISTER

20 December 2002

TRANSCRIPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER THE HON JOHN HOWARD MP DOORSTOP INTERVIEW, SYDNEY

Subject: UN Weapons Inspectors’ Report.

E&OE…………………………………………………………………………………..

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister, what’s your reaction to the report from the weapons inspectors?

PRIME MINISTER:

I share their disappointment. They have said, Hans Blix and the head of the IAEA have said that this is an opportunity missed. I share their disappointment at that and I hope that the process through the United Nations goes on. We support that process. We work within it. Iraq can avoid a deterioration to military conflict if Iraq fully cooperates, fully complies, and fully discloses. It is in Iraq’s hands to prevent military conflict occurring and the world hopes that Iraq takes that opportunity.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister the United States has said it’s a material breach of the United Nations regulations, or resolutions. Do you agree with that?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well we haven’t proffered a view separately from the one that I’ve expressed. I mean I share the disappointment of the weapons inspectors. We don’t automatically adopt the assessments of other countries but we do agree that it’s disappointing and our position is that we want Iraq to fully cooperate and fully disclose and fully comply and if that happens then we can avoid military conflict.

JOURNALIST:

Does this mean that we’re a step closer to a possible strike against Iraq or is it still the status quo do you think?

PRIME MINISTER:

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Once again that is in Iraq’s hands. If Iraq complies with the United Nations Security Council resolution then we can avoid military conflict and the possibility of weapons of mass destruction falling into the hands of terrorists can also be avoided and that is the ultimate nightmare in this situation.

[Ends]