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USUN Press Release

New York, New York
April 24, 2007


Remarks by Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, U.S. Permanent Representative, on his first day at the UN, at the Security Council Stakeout

Ambassador Khalilzad: Hello.

Reporter: Hello, Welcome.

Ambassador Khalilzad: Thank you, it's nice to be here. This is of course my second day. I just participated in an informal discussion on Somalia. I'm glad to be here. I've said before and the President has told me, my mission is to work with the Secretary General and with the other representatives here to achieve particular goals and my priorities will be to increase UN engagement to improve the situation in Iraq as well as some other regional conflicts. Second to work with others to deliver on the UN commitment on the responsibility to protect and particularly with regard to Sudan in the current circumstances. Of course there is the issue of the strengthening the capacity of the UN to deliver on its mission and I'll be working with the Secretary General and with my other colleagues to prioritize how best we can do that, to choose a number of reforms that we could pursue in the coming period. I know that the United Nations can be a very effective and positive force, I come from a lot of field experience, in Afghanistan and in Iraq and I've seen first hand that working with others, working with the United Nations positive results can be achieved. And so with that perspective I will engage, I will work hard, I will listen, I'll be respectful, but I also will speak for what we believe and with the experience that I have what can work and so I look forward to this assignment that the President has given me. Thank you.

Reporter: Ambassador can I just ask, Laura Trevelyan from the BBC, you said that you want to help the UN deliver on responsibility to protect, how are you going to do that short of a military invasion of Sudan?

Ambassador Khalilzad: Well, of course we would like the government of Sudan to cooperate with the hybrid force, not only to cooperate in words but in reality on the ground and in deed and what will support engagement with the government in Sudan. But also appropriate pressure as necessary to increase its incentive to do the right thing. To allow the strengthening of forces that are there. To improve the security situation as part of a comprehensive approach to deal with the problem of Darfur. The humanitarian situation, the political situation are also important and we need to work on them and we will but at the same time it is very important the security situation improves and the hybrid force is allowed to operate.

Reporter: The outcome for the Iraqi impasse, I mean given what's happening in Iraq is very serious and that you have come straight from there, how do you envisage the outcome? And how can the United Nations help in Iraq?

Ambassador Khalilzad: The United Nations can do a lot, a lot is at stake in Iraq. What happens in Iraq is certainly important for the Iraqis but it is also important for the future of the region. And the future of the region of the broader Middle East in my judgment is the defining challenge of our time, the way Europe was for the long time the source of many of the world's security problems, unfortunately now many of the security problems of the world emanates from that region. And the UN is playing an important role, I want to point to the Iraq international compact. Agreement between the Iraqis and the international community on the steps Iraq will take in exchange for support from the international community. The United Nations and the Iraqi government jointly worked on producing the compact and in Sharm El Sheikh next month that plan will be brought to fruition. And so already the UN is doing important things for Iraq and I believe there is room to do more and I'll be discussing that with my colleagues and with the Secretary General.

Reporter: Ambassador, what can America do to improve its standing in the Muslim world today?

Ambassador Khalilzad: Well, American stands for values of freedom, values of rule of law, values of economic prosperity and I believe the composition of our own country reflects the respect for diversity we have in the United States. I certainly for my part will do what I can, by as I said engaging others, listening to them, being respectful. I believe that we don't have all the answers and others have good ideas as well. And I will be thoughtfully listening to them, I am a problem solver, I will not posture, I will work to resolve together differences that we have, so we can advance the agenda which is to improve the situation for the people of the world.
One more.

Reporter: Ambassador, you met on Somalia this morning, I just wondered Ban Ki-Moon, the Secretary General said we may need a coalition of the willing to go in, is this something that the US would favor, sending in a coalition of the willing to sort out the situation? And just one other small thing on a personal level, your predecessor, Mr. Bolton, used to get up at 4 in the morning, are you a 4 in the morning early riser?

Ambassador Khalilzad: No, I am not a 4 in the morning person but I will promise never the less to work very hard and long hours. On the Somalia force issue I think the discussion has just started about the situation there. What needs to happen on the reconciliation track inside Somalia. The role of the African forces, the neighboring countries, as well as what the United Nations can do in the peacekeeping or peacemaking areas. There are various scenarios, I think it's premature for me to comment on that. We just began an informal-informal discussion and I'm looking forward to further discussion. Thank you very much, good to see you, yes?

Reporter: Good to see you again, this is Raghida Dergham of Al-Hayat, and Lebanon is of course a very important dossier here of the United Nations, tell me kindly is it time to bring the issue of the tribunal here to the UN under Chapter 7? Particularly as Ambassador Churkin of the Russian Federation said yesterday time is not ripe yet and there is still hope that the parties in Lebanon can agree on the tribunal. Is it open ended for you or is it time to move on here?

Ambassador Khalilzad: Well, it's not open ended. Certainly I will discuss this issue, Lebanon will be one of my priorities, it is, and I will consult with the Secretary General and with my colleagues. Certainly we don't have a lot of time. Thank you

Reporter: Mr. Ambassador could you say something about Kosovo? You're going to Kosovo in several hours….

Ambassador Khalilzad: I am looking forward to that trip. This is a sign that we take the Kosovo situation seriously. I have agreed to participate in this trip. I know this was a trip that was proposed by our Russian colleagues and as a sign of good will and partnership and willing to listen to others I am participating in this trip. It is very important as you know the Balkans is another region of the world that has been a source of a lot of insecurity and sometimes leaving a problem festering for a long time unattended can lead to bigger problems. So it's very important to bring this issue of Kosovo to a successful conclusion. I look forward to that trip.

Reporter: What is the US message going to be to the people in Kosovo?

Ambassador Khalilzad: Well the message is that the time has come to bring this issue to a close. Thank you, thank you, very much.

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Released on April 26, 2007

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