Pakistan's ambassador to UN on Syria crisis

Masood Khan speaks out


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," September 11, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: President Obama is now promising to work through the U.N. Security Council in dealing with Syria. And some breaking news -- the U.N. secretary general is saying that the U.N. weapons inspectors report on Syria will be finished and ready to be distributed on Monday, the 16th.

Tonight, we talk to one of the members of the U.N. Security Council, Masood Khan, is Pakistan's ambassador to the United Nations. Mr. Ambassador, thank you for being here.

MASOOD KHAN, PAKISTANI AMBASSADOR TO UN: Thank you. Thank you for having me.

BAIER: First off, what do you make of this effort by the Russians and where it sits in the U.N. Security Council?

KHAN: On the face of it, it's a very good development. And I think it is crucial that the United States and Russia develop an agreement, bring it back to the counsel so that the divide in the council is bridged. The counsel has been in a state of impasse over the past one year. So, this development, this proposal by Russia, can act as a catalyst for first forging unity within the P5 and then the larger council.

BAIER: Is there a concern about the feasibility and the difficulty in making this actually happen logistically, getting those inspectors on the ground, destroying chemical weapons in a place that's dealing with a civil war?

KHAN: You know, first things first. I think that Secretary Kerry and Foreign Minister Lavrov, they're meeting in Geneva tomorrow and the day after. And first, they have to come to an agreement and understanding.  Once we have crossed that threshold, then all other details can be worked out. For instance, what would be the composition of the monetary mechanism that is going secure chemical weapons and then which parties will agree to implement them?

Of course, OPCW would be involved. We can anticipate that and there are other mechanism which can be, which can have Russia and United States as its members. So, there are many possibilities. It is too early to speculate on the specific details.

BAIER: But, you believe it's real?

KHAN: Yes, it's a substantive proposal. I think it has been taken seriously by the United States. It has triggered a flurry, a diplomatic flurry in the Security Council and outside in all the capital. So, I think it's a serious proposition.

BAIER: What do you make about how this is all rolled out? I mean, we just heard earlier on the show, the national security adviser, Susan Rice, who used to be the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. saying that the president wants to do multilateral diplomacy, but quote, "let's be realistic, it's not -- it's just not going to happen now." And then, this seemed to develop. What do you think about how this is rolled out?

KHAN: There will be skepticism until you have an agreement. And I'll tell you that within the council, you have an inner core right now which is the United States and Russian federation and you have, of course, the P5, and you have the periphery which is the elected members and we think that if you have to take an action on the basis of legitimacy, international law, charter principles, then you have to bring this whole proposal to the Security Council.

And as I said right in the beginning, this might prove to be a catalyst because the counsel has been divided. So, it will have an impact on the chemical weapons issue, but on other issues, which have kept the Syrian government, Syrian state at war for the past two years.

BAIER: I guess you surprised that the U.S. didn't come forward with a proposal first in the U.N. Security Council.

KHAN: Yes. I mean, there have been diplomatic contacts. I do not want to go into the details, probably. There were behind the scenes context and this is what matured. This is a response which has come from Russian federation. So, I think that what is important right now is that the paths of the Security Council should be followed, so that all actions that are taken have the required legitimacy.

BAIER: I'd be remiss if I didn't ask you about this. The 12th anniversary of 9/11 and the fight against terrorism. What is your assessment of Pakistan's role now and how that fight is going along especially that border area between Pakistan and Afghanistan?

KHAN: The situation is still volatile. After 12 years, we can't say that we have defeated terrorism. These forces are out there and we have to defeat terrorism, but we have to have a very comprehensive policy to fight terrorism. It should have three dimensions. It should have firm deterrents. We should have -- we should develop the areas from these -- from where these terrorists are coming.

But we should also have some sort of political outreach and that's why the recent bust, our government, has offered negotiations to the Taliban.  So, I think that the, it has been a long haul for the past 12 years. The task is unfinished. The challenge is there. And while we in Pakistan have mobilized all our resources to fight this menace, but we still need the support of the international community.

BAIER: Mr. Ambassador, thank you very much for your time.

KHAN: Thank you. Good luck.

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