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USUN Press Release

New York, New York
May 29, 2007


Remarks by Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, U.S. Permanent Representative, on Lebanon and Sudan, at the Security Council Stakeout

Ambassador Khalilzad: Good morning. Good morning. Today we had a discussion at the Security Council of the resolution dealing with the establishment of the tribunal in Lebanon, and it was a good discussion. The sponsors have decided to move forward with going blue today and to go for a vote tomorrow. And I believe that enough work has been done through the discussions that have taken place among the members. So the decision has been made to move forward. With that, I'll take some questions in my national capacity.

Reporter: Will this be a unanimous vote, Ambassador, a unanimous vote on Lebanon?

Ambassador Khalilzad: Well, we'll see when the vote takes place. There are still some difference of view. But I believe there are sufficient votes now in the council to move forward.

Reporter: That further amendment to do, according to the French. Can you shed some light on this small amendment that he spoke about, this possible small amendment on the draft before going to blue?

Ambassador Khalilzad: I don' know whether I would call it amendment. There has been some discussion about giving the Lebanese domestic process a few days to see if they could work out an agreement internally, what they call a sunrise clause.

Reporter: Yeah, but we had that.

Ambassador Khalilzad: Well, there has been some discussion of whether you increase the time with regard to that, butů

Reporter: Are you (inaudible)

Ambassador Khalilzad: Well, at this point, I think we're happy with how things are.

Reporter: Ambassador, both Ambassador Churkin and Ambassador Kumalo today have told us that their principal objection is to Chapter VII, to imposing, is that the principal objection you were hearing, or are there other objections?

Ambassador Khalilzad: I think that is the principal objection. And there is a difference of view inside the council not only in relation to this one but in a generic sense, which is that some regard all decisions of the Security Council as binding, while some members regard specific reference to Chapter VII as making the decisions truly binding. And it may have something to do with the specific issue of Lebanon, but at the same time I think this is something broader. I understand, as a newcomer, that every time we have a discussion on this issue, there is a difference of view between some members and others. And I, in my summing up, I referred to that, we couldn't resolve it, I understand, in an earlier case, and we're not going to use the tribunal to resolve that difference of view in terms of interpretation.

Reporter: Ambassador, would you consider extending the period, considering that establishing the court itself will take about a year?

Ambassador Khalilzad: I just said that at this point what has been agreed to by the sponsors is to give the Lebanese a final chance to come together because the Lebanese prime minister has taken a substantial risk to ask for this to happen. If you give a lot of time to it, there is all kinds of opportunities for mischief making and for a negative effect on the situation in Lebanon. Until the tenth of June is quite generous, and I think we feel at this time that that's adequate.

Reporter: Mr. Ambassador?

Ambassador Khalilzad: Yeah? On Lebanon? Okay, then I'll come to Sudan. Yes?

Reporter: What would determine and when is the vote, tomorrow or the day after? And secondly, what is the message of the resolution?

Ambassador Khalilzad: Well, the message of the resolution is clear-cut. The tribunal gets established. Elements of it will come into force. With regard to the timing, our decision of the sponsors is to, as I said, to go blue this afternoon and to go for a vote tomorrow, tomorrow afternoon. That's where we are. Any other questions on Lebanon? You had something on Sudan.

Reporter: About the lack of consensus on Lebanon, I mean, since the Westerners are supporting it, do you think that will help Lebanon's possibilities, especially after what we have seen in recent days?

Ambassador Khalilzad: Well, of course everyone would have preferred first for the Lebanese to have done this themselves. That would be the best. That's why the sunrise clause is important. And second, of course it's always preferable to have everyone supporting the resolution, but you have to compare that with not going forward based on a clear majority as to delaying it substantially or not moving forward, the risks of that, and I've said before, you have to compare risks with other risks, and we think the risks of not moving forward are greater. Sudan.

Reporter: On Lebanon?

Ambassador Khalilzad: Sorry?

Reporter: Is the United States, is the U.S. position that a resolution would have the force of law on the tribunal absent the mention of Chapter VII?

Ambassador Khalilzad: Well, as I said, this is a long-standing disagreement inside the council. The U.S. view is that reference to Chapter VII is necessary. Yes?

Reporter: Sir, one last on Lebanon?

Ambassador Khalilzad: Yes, ma'am.

Reporter: The Syrian government said they absolutely want no part of the tribunal and will not be cooperating in any way. Does this significantly undermine the value of the tribunal or the work it can do?

Ambassador Khalilzad: Well, I think the Syrians would feel that it would be best or them, in my view, ultimately to cooperate because in the absence of their cooperation, they will come under increased pressure, given the requirements of this resolution. Yes, ma'am?

Reporter: Mr. Ambassador, on Sudan, two things. First, could you tell us when you're planning to introduce a resolution? And secondly, the Russian ambassador said that, just here, that he thought that there was an agreement in the council to follow both a political and a peacekeeping path, and that he believed that there was progress on both of those paths at the moment. And he questioned, why the timing; why go ahead with a resolution now?

Ambassador Khalilzad: Well, actually that is a comprehensive approach, as the Secretary-General has outlined, with regard to Sudan, which has a peacekeeping dimension, has a political dimension and also a humanitarian dimension. It's a three-legged approach, and we support that effort. And we're coordinating closely with the Secretary-General and appreciate his leadership with regard to this issue. On the question with regard to another resolution, we just issued a statement by the president of the council on Friday, asking the Sudanese and all other parties concerned to cooperate. We're consulting with our British colleagues and others about another resolution and we have just started that. And we'll report to you as things go forward. I don't have anything on the timing at this point.

Reporter: Mr. Ambassador, you said you were coordinating closely with the secretary-general on the issue of Sudan but he seemed taken by surprise this morning by the president's announcement of sanctions. And also he seemed to have the impression that the Security Council was going to hold back on sanctions to give the diplomatic process a chance. So wouldn't introducing a resolution be undercutting that effort?

Ambassador Khalilzad: First, I don't know whether he was surprised or not, because I have been consulting with him and coordinating with him very closely during the last 48 hours, as well. But with regard to sanctions and diplomacy, I think they can work together. There is a need, given the record of the government in Sudan, for continued pressure at the same time, with engagement on the three tracks that we talked about. And it's not only the government of Sudan but also the rebels and the neighboring countries. They all need to cooperate on the three tracks, and we'll keep working with the Secretary-General. And as I said, with regard to the resolution, we have started to talk to our allies, starting with the Britons. Yes.

Reporter: On Sudan, can you give us an indication whether, I mean, you know, you won't give us a timetable, but is there a sense of with the President making this announcement that the move will be imminent or are you still exploring a notion of whether you need to get the Secretary-General more political space?

Ambassador Khalilzad: We will coordinate with our allies in the Security Council. Of course we'll be also in touch with the Secretary-General.

Reporter: So you haven't decided yet to put it down necessarily?

Ambassador Khalilzad: No, we will move forward on a resolution. But as I said, with regard to the timing and the content, we've just started consulting with the other colleagues. My message to the government in Sudan is that it's imperative that they cooperate with the effort in terms of the important benchmarks that have been communicated to them: Ceasing attacks, dismantling the Janjaweed militias, allowing uninterrupted humanitarian assistance and of course agreeing very quickly to the agreement that has been now there between the United Nations and the African Union on the hybrid force. Thank you.

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Released on June 1, 2007

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