Bassem Awadallah, Jordon's Minister of Planning

This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, February 5, 2003, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.

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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: How did some of Iraq's closest neighbors view Wednesday's developments? Let's ask Bassem Awadallah. He is the minister of planning for the kingdom of Jordan.

Thank you, sir, for coming. Appreciate it.


CAVUTO: Did Colin Powell convince you of the need to move fast on Iraq?

AWADALLAH: The secretary made a very compelling case about the need for Iraq to comply with the U.N. resolution and with international legality. And we in Jordan have long argued that Iraq should comply with the U.N. Resolution 1441, and to make sure that it extends all possible cooperation with the inspectors in order to make sure that we avert a strike against the Iraqi people. Because the entire region will pay a heavy price for that kind of strike.

CAVUTO: All right. Now Mr. Awadallah, your country was opposed to our last Persian Gulf conflict. Are you opposed to our doing so again?

AWADALLAH: Jordan is for the compliance of Iraq with the U.N. resolution. And we hope that there is still a window of opportunity for Iraq to come out clean and to comply. In the event that it doesn't, then the international community is going to have a say about this. And unfortunately, it is going to be the Iraqi people who will pay the price. And we're still hoping that we will be able to avert a strike. Having said this, we are a responsible member of the United Nations. We are an ally of the United States. And we would like to see this issue resolved once and for all as quickly as possible and with as little pain as possible.

CAVUTO: Do you think that the Iraqi people would be better off without Saddam Hussein?

AWADALLAH: Obviously, there is a need for an open civil society to be throughout the world, and to be specifically in areas in the Middle East, specifically, in Iraq. The Iraqi people are very talented people. They deserve a chance to have a democratic lifestyle where they can harness their skills and talents and be able to develop their own country which is rich with resources, and to be able to excel and to prosper along with other peoples of the Middle East. So we hope that the effect and the final result would be for the prosperity of the Iraqi people and for the development of the Iraq as a nation.

CAVUTO: Your king has more or less been saying, that Jordan would assume a greater role in the future of Iraq. Is it fair to say, sir, that Jordan then will actually do very well in the event of an attack on Iraq?

AWADALLAH: Well, at end of the day, the future of Iraq is best determined by the people of Iraq. And if we are calling for democracy in Iraq then we must respect the will of the people and their desire to live in freedom and democracy. As far as Jordan is concerned with regards to its about bilateral relations, economic relations, political relations, we would obviously be able to interact better with a country that respects human rights and respects democracy just like we do in our own country, where we believe in an open, democratic, civil society that will be able to develop alongside other countries in the region and be able to offer prosperity for its people.

CAVUTO: Mr. Awadallah, thank you very much, enjoyed having you.

AWADALLAH: Thank you, sir.

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