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Excerpts from the Press Gaggle by Scott McClellan, December 27, 2002 (Full transcript)
QUESTION: Is the United States satisfied with the cooperation it's getting from the Iraqis, in terms of the interviews of Iraqi scientists?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, that's part of the process that is spelled out in the U.N. resolution. I refer you back to OP-5 and the U.N. resolution, where it calls on the regime in Iraq to provide immediate, unimpeded, unrestricted and private access to all officials and other persons who UNMOVIC or the IAEA wish to interview. And it says that UNMOVIC and the IAEA may, at their discretion, conduct interviews inside or outside of Iraq, may facilitate the travel of those interviewed and family members outside of Iraq, and that its sole discretion such interviews may occur without the presence of observers from the Iraqi government. So this goes back to -- again, there must be full compliance with the U.N. resolution from Iraq.
There has been a number of indications that they continue to be unwilling to change their past behavior. We still have not seen the evidence that Iraq is willing to change, and that they are willing to comply with all aspects of the U.N. resolution which seeks disarmament. And, again, the regime in Iraq will disarm -- it is there choice how they will disarm, but they will disarm.
And so this is all part of the process, but it goes back to what Secretary Powell said as recently as last week, that they appear to be unwilling to change their past behavior. And we have yet to see evidence that they will change their past behavior.
QUESTION: So are you saying they're not complying in this specific aspect of the interviews of the scientists?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I'm talking about their overall objective here, which is to disarm, for the Iraqi regime to disarm. And, again, I think I just addressed it by saying that there are a number of indications that they appear to be unwilling to change their past behavior and comply in full with the U.N. resolution.
QUESTION: Is this one of those indications?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, again, it calls for -- in OP-5. We'll see. This is a process that -- it was the President that directed the United States to seek disarmament through the U.N. And that's what we are doing. This is part of the process, and they must comply fully with the U.N. resolution. This is one part of that.
QUESTION: I wouldn't be mad if you said "no comment."
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