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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Koffi Speaks at U.N. Security Council
Aired December 16, 2003 - 10:34 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: The secretary general is beginning to speak at the U.N. Security Council.
Let's listen in.
KOFFI ANNAN, U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL: His capture is not just a symbol of the downfall of the former regime in Iraq, it is also an opportunity for a new beginning in the vital task of helping Iraqis to take control of their destiny, of helping them to create a secure, stable and independent Iraq which can once again take its proper place in the region and in the international community.
The task of restoring the effective exercise of sovereignty to Iraqis in the form of a provisional government is urgent. While there may not be time to organize free, fair and credible elections for this purpose, it is essential that the process leading to the formation of a provisional government is fully inclusive and transparent.
Every segment of Iraqi society should feel represented in the nascent institutions of their country. No one should feel excluded pending the subsequent holding of free elections for a constituent assembly and parliament. Iraqis must have real ownership of the process by which they are governed.
Let me also say that it is right that Hussein should be held to account for past deeds through a procedure that meets the highest international standards of due process.
Accounting for the past will be an important part of bringing about national reconciliation, a process that is vital to Iraq and to all Iraqis. The United Nations is ready to play its full part in helping Iraqis resume control over their destiny and build a better future.
KAGAN: We've been listening to Secretary-General Kofi Annan, as he is addresses the Security Council at the U.N. headquarters. He is adressing that council three days after the capture of Saddam Hussein, talking -- calling for elections and for what he says will be real ownership for the Iraqi people of their own government. Also talking about what happens to Saddam Hussein now and saying that any trial that takes place should reach and should meet high international standards.
Let's bring in our Liz Neisloss to talk about what Kofi Annan is talking about, and why that might be in conflict with what the United States might like to see happen to Saddam Hussein -- Liz. LIZ NEISLOSS, CNN SR. U.N. PRODUCER: Well, Daryn, as you pointed out, it is very important that Koffi Annan began his speechg talking about the significatn change with Saddam Hussein's capture, and it is expected, and kofi Annan does expect that this will give some sort of diplomatic boost to efforts in Iraq. He is emphasizing tha this is a window of opportunity that needs to be taken advantage of.
On the issue of the war crimes that Saddam may have committed or seems to have committed, it seems clear that he does want to have a tribunal. He is in somewhat of a conflict with the U.S. over their desire for a purely Iraqi forum for a tribunal. It's very important for the U.N. that any trial of Saddam Hussein be open, be transparent, that international experts can be brought in for what many see as a very frail justice system right now in Iraq -- Daryn.
KAGAN: Talk about the key difference here, Liz, and that is whether there would be a death penalty or not a death penalty for Saddam Hussein. Kofi Annan and members of the United Nations have very strong feelings about this.
NEISLOSS: Well, it's been a historic position, really for the U.N., to oppose the death penalty at the tribunals that the U.N. has set up, whether it is for Rwanda, or for the former Yugoslavia, there is no death penalty. That is a clear position from the U.N. And Kofi Annan told reporters on Monday, I am not planning to turn from this position from the U.S. So he does clearly oppose a death penalty.
KAGAN: Liz Neisloss at the U.N. Liz, thank you for that.
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