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USUN Press Release

New York, New York
June 8, 2007


Remarks by Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, U.S. Permanent Representative, on Iran, Sudan and Kosovo

Ambassador Khalilzad: Hello. I'll be glad to take some questions.

Reporter: Mr. Khalilzad, the Israelis keep threatening Iran with attacks against their nuclear facilities and they of course, last year we heard them saying that we will bombard Lebanon twenty years back and some more things. Why don't we get the same reaction from yourselves, the same manner like you are doing today regarding Iran?

Ambassador Khalilzad: Well, today there was a discussion with regard to the statement made by the President of Iran with regard to the destruction of the state of Israel. And there was a good discussion that a statement by a head of state calling for or implying the destruction of a member state of the United Nations is as a matter of principle unacceptable. And this is an issue of threat to international peace and security. Now with regard to criticizing, that statement does not mean that one should not be critical of policies, or activities, or actions of Israel. But it is different than calling for the destruction of Israel by a head of state. That's a different category. And therefore we felt as did a number of other member states that this was worthy of a statement by the Security Council and of course as you saw a similar judgment was made by the Secretary-General. You can't be indifferent to the threats made or calls made for the destruction of a country, of a state, a sovereign state, a member of the Security Council. I mean sorry, of the United Nations.

Reporter: What about Darfur Mr. Ambassador? Can you brief us on what you heard from Mr. Eliasson? Also, does the United States still insist on imposing sanctions despite demands from the United Nations for more time to reach a deal between the Sudanese and the rebels?

Ambassador Khalilzad: Well, we heard a report from Mr. Eliasson about the political effort to bring about a negotiated settlement. As you know we have always talked about a comprehensive approach to the problem of Darfur. A negotiated effort between the government and the rebels, humanitarian assistance and peacekeeping forces, heavy and hybrid. And all of these are important to address the issue of Darfur. With regard to sanctions, it is our view that you need to keep incentivising the government of Sudan and the rebels to do the right thing. And therefore it is our position that now that there is a UN-AU agreement on the hybrid force that the government of Sudan should accept it and quickly because the situation on the ground demands it. And if we do not get a positive and affirmative response in a timely manner, then the US and some other members of the Council would push for multilateral sanctions to incentivize, remember the goal is to incentivize Khartoum to cooperate. And that the timeline for that in our view has to be the visit of the Security Council. We encourage President Bashir to be forthcoming with the delegation and by the time of the delegation getting there, or at the meeting with the delegation, to accept that. But we also think we need to incentivize the rebels to cooperate. In our contribution in there we mention that since we recognize that they also play a role in terms of the violence that we will not rule out adding some of them on the list of sanctions that we are contemplating should we not get the appropriate response from the government in Khartoum.

Reporter: Mr. Ambassador what's the U.S.'s response to the conviction yesterday of Mr. Behel in the UN procurement scandal and whether OIOS reports should be released to the press and public?

Ambassador Khalilzad: Well, we welcome this and I think that this has been an appropriate action that has been taken. It shows that the ability to take appropriate action is there so we welcome it. As far as access to the media, we the United States of course have no problem with transparency and sharing as much information as can be shared. Thank you very much.

Reporter: Ambassador, one on Kosovo please? French President Sarkozy has supported the idea of a six month period before implementation, what is the sort of state of play in terms of discussing that as an option? How does the US feel about it right now?

Ambassador Khalilzad: Well first, my information is that as of a couple of hours ago discussions were still continuing in Germany among the political directors to see if they could come together on an agreement. So we want to wait and see what they come up with. Thank You.

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Released on June 14, 2007

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