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 You are in: Under Secretary for Political Affairs > Bureau of African Affairs > Releases > Remarks > 2004: African Affairs Remarks

Remarks on Sudan and Iraq at the Security Council Stakeout

Ambassador John C. Danforth, U.S Representative to the United Nations
U.N. Headquarters
New York City
October 26, 2004


Ambassador Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations, addressing correspondents following Security Council meeting. UN PhotoAMBASSADOR DANFORTH: Well, itíll have to be the Cardinals in six, right?  There was a nice article in the Times on St. Louis.  Best article Iíve seen there in a long time. 

QUESTION: (inaudible)

AMBASSADOR DANFORTH: Itís much more than symbolism.  The Security Council would not have agreed to something as extraordinary as this if it were merely symbolism.  This is only the fourth time since 1952 that the Security Council has met outside of New York. So this is very unusual.  And it serves two purposes.  The first is it furthers the peace process in Sudan.  And the second is that itís an opportunity for the Security Council to demonstrate to all sides in Sudan that the international community is not going to go away, that the international community is going to continue to be concerned about that country for the long term.  It gets, I think, important to keep this in perspective and that is the point of everything the Security Council has been trying to do with respect Sudan and Darfur is to reduce the amount of human suffering in that country.  Itís been a very terrible situation, as we all know, with many deaths and many people displaced and this furthers the prospect of trying to resolve this terrible crisis Ė this human tragedy by furthering the possibility of a political solution.  And a political solution between the North and the South has been the subject of discussion for years now and would also provide the basis for moving forward in Darfur in resolving the political aspect of that problem.  So itís promising, like everything else with respect to Sudan, there never seems to be a time when you can say okay this problemís over, but I think this is a very important step underlying the international concern for and support for the future of Sudan. 

QUESTION: (inaudible) what kind of document or resolution is coming out (inaudible)? And also who is going to speak (inaudible)?

AMBASSADOR DANFORTH: I think that there is going to be an outcome, I mean thatís the whole purpose of going there.  The form that it takes and the content remain to be seen.  But this is an opportunity for the Security Council to paint a picture of the future of Sudan and the future of international participation in Sudan, assuming that there are Ė when there is a peace agreement.  So I think in that respect thereís a real product thatís involved.

QUESTION: (inaudible)

AMBASSADOR DANFORTH: I think it says to the parties that they are on center stage in world affairs and that the Security Council and the world are looking to both sides of the so-called Naivasha process and asking them to be very flexible and to move forward and to conclude a peace agreement.

QUESTION: You donít think that there will be a peace agreement by the time you get there?

AMBASSADOR DANFORTH: I canít predict that because Iím sure there are a lot of details to be worked out.  It would certainly be wonderful if that were the case, but I certainly cannot predict that.  But my hope is that the parties will close the differences very, very substantially and it would be great if there were a peace agreement.  It would be an excellent outcome.  And we urge the parties to do that. 

QUESTION: (inaudible)

AMBASSADOR DANFORTH: Well, weíre certainly going to invite the African Union and IGAD and the government of Sudan and the SPLM all to participate in this

QUESTION: (inaudible)

AMBASSADOR DANFORTH: Well, the point of the trip and the unusual meeting, not just a mission, but a meeting, is to address ourselves specifically to the issue of Sudan and that is the point of the trip that is the focus of the trip, that is the agenda item that was agreed to today Ė Sudan, not a multitude of issues, but Sudan.  Now, weíre going to be in Nairobi, weíre going to be meeting with the AU and weíre going to be meeting with IGAD to raise those issues with the people who will be present, but the focus of the meeting is going to be Sudan.

QUESTION: (inaudible) the letter from ElBaradei?

AMBASSADOR DANFORTH: I donít know if the Council is or not. 

QUESTION: (inaudible) because the U.S. is really the only responsible party?

AMBASSADOR DANFORTH: Well, the U.S. is very interested in this of course, and takes this matter with great seriousness.  It is a matter of concern obviously.  And the U.S. is looking into this, and the Iraq Survey Group specifically is looking into this.  So, yes, certainly and it is important to find out as quickly as possible what happened, when it happened and where these explosives are. 

QUESTION: Why not raise it in the Security Council?  Why not discuss it with members of the Security Council, to whom the letter was directed by Mohammed ElBaradei?

AMBASSADOR DANFORTH: I think this is more a matter of tracking down the facts rather than just having a debate about it.  And I think weíve got to find out what is the situation, what are the circumstances, where did this go, how did it happen. To me thatís a factual inquiry and we have in place the Iraq Survey Group, which is equipped to handle all this. 

QUESTION: (inaudible)

AMBASSADOR DANFORTH: Nothing new.  Nothing new.  I am not the facts man on this.

QUESTION: What about the possibility of sending back the IAEA inspectors themselves, who are the people who really know where everything was?

AMBASSADOR DANFORTH: Well, I think we have in place the fact finders.  And I think we should utilize the fact finders who are on the ground. 

QUESTION: Do you still feel this is still not an issue that should be taken up by the IAEA?

AMBASSADOR DANFORTH: Well, itís not a nuclear issue.  These are not nuclear explosives.  These are explosives that are conventional in nature. 

QUESTION: Well, theyíre potential triggers for nuclearÖ

AMBASSADOR DANFORTH: Well, I suppose anything could be a potential trigger, but these are really not within the purview of the IAEA.  Thanks. 

Released on October 26, 2004

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