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Remarks by Ambassador John R. Bolton, U.S. Representative to the United Nations, on Iran, Sudan and Other Matters, at the Security Council Stakeout

Washington, DC
May 16, 2006

Ambassador Bolton: We're very pleased by the Security Council's unanimous adoption of Resolution 1679. This is a resolution that, as you know, Secretary Rice introduced in the Council last Tuesday at the ministerial level meeting. We think it sends a strong message under Chapter VII of the Security Council's intention to move expeditiously to replace the African Union force in the Darfur region with a UN peacekeeping operation and to increase its assistance to the AMIS force in the interim period. We're pleased that after some difficult negotiations we did get a unanimous vote. And as you know, some delegations, in particular Russia and China , were concerned about invoking Chapter VII. I think the lesson here is that the U.S. and others felt strongly that a Chapter VII resolution was necessary and by persisting we persuaded Russia and China to go along and thus lead us to a unanimous decision. So this is a very positive development. This is not to understate the amount of work remaining to do, the amount of work the Secretariat has to do and the difficulties inherent in implementing the Darfur peace agreement. But from the Security Council point of view, this resolution adopted here today reflects strong support for the Darfur peace agreement and for the decision of the African Union Peace and Security Council. So why don't I stop there and I'll take questions.

Reporter: How much is this resolution a signal of going down the road (inaudible)?

Ambassador Bolton: You want me to explain what regional organization means?

Reporter: (inaudible)

Ambassador Bolton: Do I get to answer the question or do you just keep asking? Regional organization means NATO. There's not the slightest doubt in anybody's mind what it means. And all of you veterans of UN drafting know there are different ways of getting to the same result. I think the most important aspect of this is that we have a unanimous resolution invoking Chapter VII because of the important role the UN can provide in protecting the innocent civilians in the Darfur region. And the fact that it's unanimous, I think shows what persistence can do.

Reporter: Ambassador, the original draft and the draft that was passed today are quite a bit different. What was lost in the process?

Ambassador Bolton: I don't think anything was lost. The most important aspect of this was the invocation of Chapter VII to make it clear that we do think there's an important role for the UN peacekeeping force, number one. Number two to make it unmistakable that it's not just the Security Council, but the African Union as well, that supports the transition from the African Union force to the UN force. We want that done expeditiously we want cooperation from everyone concerned, and that we're all going to take steps to try and support the African Union force in the interim. So I think while there were various changes in the language, the substance of the resolution as described by Secretary Rice last Tuesday is essentially the same.

Reporter: (inaudible) some reference to 1591 is that in the final version?

Ambassador Bolton: I think what we said was strong and effective measures such as a travel ban and assets freeze, which are precisely the kind of sanctions that are contemplated by 1591, and that the Security Council recently adopted. The difficulty with the specific reference to 1591 was that three governments had abstained on 1591 and would have caused them difficulty in voting in favor of this, but in fact it was China that suggested the language that I just read out, such as a travel ban and assets freeze, which are sanctions, so in substance we have the same thing. And obviously 1591 which refers to the obstruction of peace efforts as grounds for sanctions remains fully in force.

Reporter: (inaudible)

Ambassador Bolton: Well, the first thing we're going to do is repeat and augment our efforts to assist in the transitional planning process, which we can do both through U.S. assets and through NATO where that's appropriate. And then as the decisions are made on the concept of operations for the UN peacekeeping force, its composition and its deployment, other decisions will be made down the road. But it's premature yet to discuss what the larger role might or might not be. What we do know we're going to do, what we have been doing and will continue to do, is to expedite the planning process.

Reporter: (inaudible)

Ambassador Bolton: The resolution, the terms of the resolution are found in the resolution itself, not in explanations of vote. The resolution was adopted 15-0. It's a very strong resolution; it's very clear. And we're happy it was adopted 15-0. It could have been 12-3, but it wasn't. So I think that if Sudan is doing anything other than reading the language of the resolution, which it should, it should also look at the 15-0 vote.

Reporter: (inaudible) on Iran

Ambassador Bolton: Can we finish on Sudan before we cover other interesting subjects?

Reporter: (inaudible)

Ambassador Bolton: Well, I think the African Union, as well as, the Security Council have made it unmistakably clear what they expect will happen. And I think that message is being received in Khartoum . And rather than speculate on what they might do, let's see. We're unambiguous on what our position is and the Council has spoken unanimously.

Reporter: (inaudible)

Ambassador Bolton: Well, by definition any future resolution that describes the mandate of the peacekeeping force would have to be self-contained. But I think the invocation of Chapter VII here was important to note that as in the existing UNMIS force in Southern Sudan and in other peacekeeping forces in recent African conflicts, that the obligation of the peacekeeping force to protect civilians should be clear from the outset. I think that's the reason that we and others felt strongly Chapter VII should be in. And again whatever people say in the explanations of vote, the most important thing is the vote because they could have abstained or they could have voted no. And they didn't do that.

Reporter: (inaudible) China and Russian to come along, and how is it going actually?

Ambassador Bolton: Well, as you know, we circulated a new text yesterday afternoon, and I think it's clear. And Ambassador de la Sabliere and I will announce in the further consultations in here, we will put that resolution in blue today, and we expect a vote on that tomorrow. And I think this is another insight into how to proceed, is that when you say we're going in blue, we're going to a vote, things happen, delegations get instructions. So I like the way this happened today, and I'm going to look forward to the vote tomorrow too, and we'll see how high it goes.

Reporter: (inaudible)

Ambassador Bolton: Very positive.

Reporter: (inaudible)

Ambassador Bolton: There's no question. We're above nine now and we're going to a vote tomorrow.

Reporter: (inaudible)

Ambassador Bolton: Well, I think the offer will obviously be made as part of a package of carrots and sticks or as some people prefer to call it incentives and disincentives. And the question of the package has to be decided by the Perm Five plus Germany . I think Secretary Rice has made it very clear that we're not supporting half of a package that we will be supporting the presentation of something to Iran that shows the consequences that face them if they give up the pursuit of uranium enrichment and the mastery over the nuclear fuel cycle in the form of the incentives, and they will also see in the form of the disincentives the increased isolation that they can expect if they don't go along. And it will be only when the entire package of both halves is put together I think, that we'll be prepared to offer an opinion. I do think that yesterday's news that the United States has taken Libya off its list of state sponsors of terrorism and has decided to resume full diplomatic relations after almost 30 years shows what can happen when a country gives up seriously the pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and abjures the support of terrorism. And I think that's a clear example to Iran, it's a clear example to North Korea too, but it's certainly a clear example to Iran as we come up on the preparation of this package that the ministers agreed to here in New York last week.

Reporter: (inaudible)

Ambassador Bolton: No, I don't think so. This has been going on since the end of 2003 when the Libyan announcement was made that it was going to give up the pursuit of its weapons programs, its weapons of mass destruction programs, remaining issues on the terrorism subject had to be worked out. And I think what the announcement yesterday signals is that they indeed were resolved satisfactorily, and it was a question of how long it took to work that out.

Reporter: (inaudible)

Ambassador Bolton: That's not what I said, at some length I think, but I will repeat.

Reporter: (inaudible)

Ambassador Bolton: It's a package of incentives and disincentives all of which have to be considered before we agree to it or not. But what remains (inaudible) of any package for us or the Europeans and the Russians and the Chinese is that Iran suspend its uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities. That's got to be part of the package too. So what you can't do is pick out this piece, or that piece or another piece and say well is that your position? Because the position, as I think we've made clear in a number of contexts, is looking at the whole package. And there has to be agreement to the whole package of incentives and disincentives by all of the Perm Five members.

Reporter: (inaudible)

Ambassador Bolton: Well, I think the resolution we've just adopted, 1679, speaks pretty clearly in its own terms. And what we're now expecting, we do expect cooperation from the government of Sudan , I think that's inherent in their decision to sign the Darfur Peace Agreement, it's certainly inherent in the decision of the African Union's Peace and Security Council. And I think the government of Sudan would find itself in a very difficult position if it didn't cooperate with this transition from AMIS to UNMIS, and if it didn't cooperate with the strengthening of AMIS capabilities in the interim.

Reporter: (inaudible)

Ambassador Bolton: I'm satisfied that the resolution as drafted makes it clear that we are talking about Iran and the Syrian involvement in Lebanon and why that involvement needs to be curtailed in order to ensure that the objectives of 1559 are achieved – the free and independent Lebanon, the democratic and full control of its territory.

Reporter: (inaudible)

Ambassador Bolton: Well, I think what people have been talking about is to – not to imagine that there will come a date and time at which AMIS disappears and UNMIS takes over. In other words, that there's not some clear demarcation, but there's an effort to strengthen AMIS as part of the transition, which means building, really, what will become UNMIS as soon as we can get the assessment mission and the necessary contingency planning done. So I think that it all goes together. Our hope is that UNMIS could be prepared to formally take over as early as possible. And there have been different estimates, six months, nine months – those all seem long to us. But one reason it's hard to make a more definitive estimate is we have not been able to get the logistical planning personnel into the Darfur region to do the work they need to do. And that I think is very clear from this resolution we expect that to happen immediately. Okay? Anything else? Thanks a lot.

USUN PRESS RELEASE # 120 (06)



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