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Public Papers - 1991

Exchange With Reporters Prior to Discussions With Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar de la Guerra of the United Nations



The President. Welcome everybody.

Q. -- -- police force in northern Iraq?

The President. We're not taking any questions today. Thank you very much. The Secretary-General might want to, but I -- --

Q. Are you hoping that all of the American forces will be out of Iraq soon?

The Secretary-General. Well, I think that that is the wish of our American friends, and as well as the wish of the United Nations.

The President. That's for sure.

The Secretary-General. I think the stations in Iraq are properly settled, but I think we have to be patient.

Q. Are you in favor of a police force -- a U.N. police force in northern Iraq?

The Secretary-General. That's what we are going to discuss with the President and with his collaborators. But today I have received a very clear rejection from the Iraq Government. They do not want a United Nations police presence in the area. Right now, as we -- --

Q. They don't want the U.N.?

The Secretary-General. They don't want the U.N.

Q. That's par for the course, isn't it? I mean, so what? [Laughter] Does that mean you have to comply?

The President. Well, listen, we've got to get to work here. We've got to get to work. I want to discuss all this with the Secretary-General.

Q. Does that mean you have to comply?

The President. And we will discuss all this and then figure out what to do.

Q. Did it come from Saddam?

The Secretary-General. Well, I think -- I have a special envoy there, Mr. Goulding, and he was the one who received from the Minister of Foreign Affairs the negative reaction.

Note: The exchange began at 11:05 a.m. in the Oval Office at the White House. A reporter referred to President Saddam Hussein of Iraq. The Secretary-General referred to Marrack Goulding, U.N. Under Secretary-General, and Foreign Minister Ahmad Husayn Khudayir al-Samarra'i of Iraq.

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