Remarks on Ethiopia/Eritrea and IranAmbassador John R. Bolton, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations
Remarks at Security Council Stakeout
New York City
February 8, 2006
AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Okay, just very briefly, we had our second daily briefing, by the Secretariat today on the situation in Haiti, following the elections yesterday. The Council then turned to a discussion of the Ethiopia/Eritrea situation. We received a report by Under Secretary General Guehenno. And I gave a briefing to the status of the U.S. Diplomatic initiative to move on the demarcation question. We discussed a few other issues and we have adjourned until tomorrow.
REPORTER: From the P5 meeting, have the Ambassadors come to any agreement on how to handle the Iran dossier?
AMBASSADOR BOLTON: You know, I am not going to comment on that.
AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Well we hope to have a meeting of the witnesses to the Algiers Accord, in the next couple of weeks, and then further meetings of the EEBC, to go forward. The United States asked today in light of our continuing diplomatic efforts, that there be no decision on the configuration or deployment of UNMEE for another 30 days, carrying, in other words, keeping the status quo essentially up until the expiration of a mandate and that was pretty generally agreed to; so we will proceed with our continuing diplomatic efforts.
REPORTER: What is the purpose of the witnesses to the Algiers Accord and why is the 30 days, so the United States can continue consultations with the?
AMBASSADOR BOLTON: To continue the diplomatic initiative that we undertook beginning about a month ago. And the purpose of the meeting of the witnesses is consistent with the Secretary Generalís recommendation that witnesses get together to emphasize the importance they attach to commencing the demarcation efforts on the boundary.
REPORTER: What is the U.S. position on the OIC idea that there should be some statement tempering the right of free speech with respect to religion?
AMBASSADOR BOLTON: I donít have a comment on that, weíve seen the language and we are considering what to do.
REPORTER: (inaudible) of what he said also, the international peace and security situation is getting worse now, between the caricatures and the demonstrations, and the Iran situation, and what is happening in the Middle East, and the crisis that is developing. There seems to be absolutely, a conflict of issues, which do impact international peace and security. In the world context, do you think you should, as the President of the Security Council, call a meeting to discuss all these issues? Not one by one?
AMBASSADOR BOLTON: There arenít any plans for such a meeting.
REPORTER: Going back to Ethiopia/Eritrea, is the United States satisfied with the cooperation that it has gotten from both the Ethiopians and Eritreans in this diplomatic effort? I understand there were certainly some problems with the Eritreans?
AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Well, I would rather not get into the specifics, the effort continues, we are going to try and have the meeting of the witnesses, followed by a meeting of the EEBC, with the parties. And I think we will just allow those efforts to proceed and see if we canít make some progress.
AMBASSADOR BOLTON: The only thing weíve got in train is what Iíve just mentioned.
REPORTER: (Inaudible) on the Iran issue?
AMBASSADOR BOLTON: I expect that fairly shortly we will have a letter from me, in my capacity as President of the Security Council, back to the Director General of the IAEA and we are going to be circulating something to the members of the Council, thatís traditionally the way it is done, when the President writes a letter. Itís with the concurrence of the members of the Council, so that will happen this afternoon, and we will get comments, if there are any, and we will see where to go from there.
REPORTER: (Inaudible) and the UNMEE mandate expires, what if thereís still no agreement, and this US initiative has not gotten anywhere?
AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Well, obviously we hope that progress will be made and we wonít have to face that eventuality. But one of the things we talked about in the Council today was contingency planning for changing the configuration of deployment for UNMEE. I think thatís a prudent thing to do. The UNMEE mandate expires in the middle of March but there were no decisions. People were thinking about it. I think weíll continue to think about it. But our primary emphasis at the moment is on the diplomatic initiative.
REPORTER: Are you worried that the message that sends that the Council is being pushed around by a somewhat wacko dictatorship in Eritrea?
AMBASSADOR BOLTON: I think I wonít comment on that.
REPORTER: Did you have discussions in the P5 about the statement on Iran? Do you get any indications how the Chinese and Russians feel about a strong statement? Whether theyíre willing to move ahead?
AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Well, I think Iíll let it go with what I said before. Iím expecting that in very short order we will submit to all 15 members of the Council, the other 14 anyway, a draft response. And thatís following the normal pattern that we follow on these matters. Weíll see what if any comments we receive and then work to get agreement on the letter because the text of any such letter would have to be agreed and then we would have to get it back to the IAEA.
AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Any other questions?
REPORTER: (Inaudible) the fact that Eritrea has been able to in some ways dictate terms to the Council on the composition of this mission. What message does it send that still after so much time solution has not been reached?
AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Well, itís also the case that Ethiopia has refused to accept the decision of the arbitral panel that it committed to in 2000 in the Algiers agreement. So the Security Council has clearly expressed its dissatisfaction with both parties. Thatís why the United States undertook the diplomatic initiative that it has to try and break through the impasse that weíve seen for nearly four years and see if we canít move on with demarcation. That effort is underway and weíre going to do our best to try and have a positive outcome.
REPORTER: (Inaudible) reaction to the latest draft resolution circulated on the Human Rights Council. Does the US find it as progress or do you still see major concerns there?
AMBASSADOR BOLTON: We made a statement on the latest draft, a statement of our position on Monday and I donít have anything to add to that. Okay. Anything else? It was wonderful to see you. All right, one more.
REPORTER: There was a statement released about the Washington Memo, which said that the U.S. has planned or had considered using a UN plane to be shot down, and blaming it on Saddam. This came out in the press over the weekend, do you have any comment on that?
AMBASSADOR BOLTON: I donít have any idea what youíre talking about.
REPORTER: It was in the press over the weekend, and they are calling it the Washington Memo.
AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Hereís my confession. I donít read everything that is in the press. Sorry, see you later.
Released on February 8, 2006