News



DATE=2/19/98
TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
NUMBER=2-227003
TITLE=CLINTON/IRAQ (L)
BYLINE=DAVID GOLLUST
DATELINE=WHITE HOUSE
CONTENT=
VOICED AT: 

INTRO:  PRESIDENT CLINTON SAYS HE HOPES THE MISSION TO BAGHDAD BY
U-N SECRETARY-GENERAL KOFI ANNAN YIELDS A DIPLOMATIC SOLUTION TO 
THE WEAPONS INSPECTIONS CRISIS -- BUT SAYS IF THAT PROVES 
UNATTAINABLE, SADDAM HUSSEIN WILL BEAR THE RESPONSIBILITY.  
V-O-A'S DAVID GOLLUST REPORTS FROM THE WHITE HOUSE.

TEXT:  MR. CLINTON SAID HE AND FRENCH PRESIDENT JACQUES CHIRAC 
AGREED IN A PHONE CONVERSATION THAT THE ANNAN MISSION PRESENTS A 
"CRITICAL OPPORTUNITY" FOR A PEACEFUL END TO THE CRISIS.

BUT IN A HASTILY-ARRANGED TALK WITH REPORTERS HERE AS HE LEFT FOR
A DAY OF TRAVEL ON THE EAST-COAST, THE PRESIDENT MADE CLEAR THERE
IS LITTLE LEFT TO DISCUSS -- OTHER THAN WHETHER SADDAM HUSSEIN 
WILL GIVE THE U-N WEAPONS INSPECTORS FULL, FREE AND UNFETTERED 
ACCESS TO ALL SITES IN THE COUNTRY:

                        ///CLINTON ACT///

         WE HOPE THE SECRETARY-GENERAL'S MISSION WILL SUCCEED. 
         BUT LET ME BE CLEAR. IF DIPLOMACY FAILS, WE MUST BE AND 
         WE ARE PREPARED TO ACT. THE CHOICE IS SADDAM HUSSEIN'S. 
         WE HOPE HE WILL ACCEPT THE MANDATE OF THE WORLD 
         COMMUNITY. HE HAS AFTER ALL, AGREED TO IT ALREADY, YEARS
         AGO. IF NOT HE MUST BEAR THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE 
         CONSEQUENCES. 

                          ///END ACT///

MR. CLINTON ALSO BRUSHED ASIDE THE SUSTAINED HECKLING HIS 
NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISERS RECEIVED DURING A PUBLIC FORUM ON IRAQ
AT THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY IN COLUMBUS (WEDNESDAY). HE 
DESCRIBED THE TUMULTUOUS EVENT AS "A GOOD OLD FASHIONED AMERICAN 
DEBATE" WHILE PREDICTING THAT IF IT COMES TO MILITARY ACTION, THE
NATION WILL BE UNITED AS IT WAS ON THE EVE OF THE GULF WAR:

                      ///CLINTON ACT TWO///

         I BELIEVE STRONGLY THAT MOST AMERICANS SUPPORT OUR 
         POLICY. THEY SUPPORT OUR RESOLVE. I THINK AN 
         OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF AMERICANS ALSO WANT A PEACEFUL 
         RESOLUTION TO THIS. BUT IF IT'S NECESSARY FOR US TO ACT,
         I BELIEVE AMERICA WILL DO WHAT IT ALWAYS DOES. I BELIEVE
         IT WILL UNITE, JUST AS WE DID IN 1991. I BELIEVE IT WILL
         UNITE BEHIND TAKING THE NECESSARY ACTION.

                         ///END ACT/// 

ASKED IF SADDAM HUSSEIN MIGHT BE EMBOLDENED BY THE DISPLAY OF 
DISSENT IN COLUMBUS, MR. CLINTON SAID  NOT  IF HE UNDERSTANDS THE
FIRST THING ABOUT AMERICA.

                        /// REST OPT ///

THE PRESIDENT ALSO ANNOUNCED THAT BECAUSE OF THE CRISIS, VICE 
PRESIDENT AL GORE IS POSTPONING A TRIP TO SOUTH AFRICA NEXT WEEK 
-- WHERE HE WAS TO PRESIDE, ALONG WITH THAT COUNTRY'S DEPUTY 
PRESIDENT THABO MBEKI, AT A SESSION OF THE U-S / SOUTH AFRICAN 
JOINT COMMISSION. (SIGNED)

NEB/DAG/TMD/JO

19-Feb-98 12:07 PM EST (1707 UTC)
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Source: Voice of America
.