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White House Report, July 18: Iraq, North Korea

18 July 2005

White House expects Saddam Hussein trial to be "fair and transparent"

IRAQIS TO CONTROL TRIAL; NO U.S. AID TO ELECTION CANDIDATES

The United States is playing only a “technical” role in the trial of Saddam Hussein, leaving justice in the hands of the Iraqis, said White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan.

“This will be an Iraqi process. It is an Iraqi process. The special tribunal is moving forward so that Saddam Hussein faces Iraqi justice,” he said July 18.

Emphasizing U.S. support for the effort of the Iraqi special tribunal, acting on behalf of the Iraqi people to “investigate the atrocities of the former regime and to bring people to justice for the crimes that were committed,” McClellan stated that the White House expects the trial will be a “fair and transparent process.”

McClellan previously noted that the United States did not provide aid to any candidates in the January 30 Iraqi elections.

The Bush administration had “concerns that outsiders might try to influence the election, including Iran,” said McClellan.  “That raised concerns about whether there might be a need to level the playing field for the elections.”

After analyzing the situation, “the president made the decision that our policy would be not to try to influence the outcome of the election by covertly helping individual candidates for office,” he said.

PYONGYANG URGED TO BE "PREPARED TO MOVE FORWARD" AT TALKS

Ahead of the scheduled resumption of Six-Party Talks involving North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, Press Secretary McClellan called upon Pyongyang to “come prepared to move forward in a substantive and serious way” on the proposal it was presented with in June 2004.

“North Korea needs to make a strategic decision to abandon their nuclear ambitions.  If they do so, they can realize better relations with the international community. If they do so, they can start to realize some of those benefits,” McClellan told the press.

During the previous round of talks, involving North Korea, South Korea, China, Russia, Japan and the United States, North Korea was presented with a proposal that “talked about things such as economic and non-nuclear energy assistance,” McClellan said.

Asked whether the talks, which are expected to resume the week of July 25, will include a discussion of human rights, the press secretary said they would be focused on “the nuclear issue.”

However, McClellan added that President Bush remains concerned over “the plight of the people in North Korea." 

“That’s why we have provided large amounts of food assistance, larger amounts than any other nation, to help those in North Korea who are in need of that assistance,” he said.

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



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