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Remarks on Sudan, Iran, and Other Matters

Ambassador John R. Bolton, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations
Remarks at a Security Council Stakeout
New York City
May 8, 2006

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Okay, why don't we go ahead and get started if you're ready. I think you all heard the President's announcement this morning in the past hour that Secretary Rice, as part of her visit to New York, will be speaking to he Security Council tomorrow. In fact, we have arranged for a meeting of the Council to take place at 1:45 lasting roughly until 3:15 in which a number of Foreign Ministers will participate. We expect the foreign ministers of all five of the Permanent Members, the Foreign Minister of Congo, which is important as Congo is, of course, the President of the African Union and played a critical role in the Abuja agreement, and obviously Congo is also President of the Security Council this month. The Danish Minister of Development and Cooperation will participate and Ministers from a number of the other Security Council members. We anticipate, as well, statements from the Arab League and the European Union, so this will be a public meeting to discuss Darfur. We have just now circulated the draft resolution that the President spoke of and it is basically straightforward to the point to accelerate the planning and the assistance, both for the transition to a UN peacekeeping force in Darfur as well as to strengthen the hand of the African Union force that is deployed there. Obviously, a number of other steps will be necessary to implement this but this is a, we think a critical step, as the President suggested to accelerate the transition to the UN Peacekeeping force, given that the AMIS force has basically reached its limit. So we expect ministers to address a variety of critical aspects of the Darfur situation tomorrow. The humanitarian issues, number one and the security issues, number two, stressing the need to support the agreement in Abuja and to take the steps necessary to implement it in conditions of security. So why don't I stop there and I'll take questions.

REPORTER: Ambassador, it seems to a certain degree that Darfur is bumping Iran off of sort of the top of the agenda tomorrow. Is that a sort of signal that things are not going very well on Iran?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: It's a signal that, well, Iran is going to be discussed this evening at the dinner of the Perm 5 Foreign Ministers and Germany. And I expect, we've already had one Perm 5 meeting today on Iran, and I expect more tomorrow. So what it means is we're just extending the length of the day to do both at once and that's the consequence.

REPORTER: (inaudible) on the subject of Iran negotiations, can you limit the draft resolutions applicability to one article of Chapter VII that doesn't necessarily bring into play the possibility of sanctions use of armed forces to still get the mandatory requirement or the strength that you want?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: That's not been the view for the five permanent members for quite some time. That's why the draft is written the way it is invoking the full range of Chapter VII. And that's the intention we've had and that's what we've been sticking with.

REPORTER: (inaudible) Palestinians bypassing Hamas entirely?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Well, I think all of that is going to be discussed at the Quartet meeting tomorrow. And I'd rather really not get into foreshadowing what they're going to cover. I'd rather let that discussion take place. There was a Darfur question down here?

REPORTER: (inaudible) just two things on Darfur, by accelerating it are you talking about trying to get in a peacekeeping mission in September? And the UN again reiterated its call for countries with the capability to send assets to any future UN peacekeeping operation in Darfur, is the U.S. planning to send assets to any future UN peacekeeping operation in Darfur?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Well, the acceleration is to accelerate the planning and the preliminary work that needs to be done. We've said previously that before the Abuja agreement was signed we needed to get DPKO military planners from the UN into the Sudan, into the Darfur region, so that the contingency plans that were under preparation could be made accurate and more fitted to the circumstances. And that remains an urgent decision. It appeared that over the weekend the government of Sudan had accepted the fact of the UN Mission. I understand that today there's been a somewhat different signal. I don't think our objective changes; I think we want the deployment of the UN peacekeeping force as soon as possible. But until you get the planning done, you can't speed that date up. So the answer to accelerating the deployment up depends on the pace of which the planning can take place. But I don't think there's any doubt we also want to accelerate assistance to the AMIS force to strengthen its hand while the transition continues. And I think the President this morning addressed the issue of requesting potentially interested countries for their participation in the peacekeeping operation and that will continue.

REPORTER: What are your thoughts on tomorrow's election to the Human Rights Council, when you have countries like Iran, Saudi Arabia and Cuba as candidates?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Well, I said earlier I'm not going to comment on the election to the Human Rights Council until after it's over so I'll stick with that.

REPORTER: (inaudible)

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: I haven't seen the letter, so I can't comment on it.

REPORTER: (inaudible) Security Council issues as far as Iran is concerned?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: I think we want to see the letter, but until we see it it's hard to comment on it.

REPORTER: (inaudible)

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: I don't know. I've been in the Security Council.

REPORTER: (inaudible)

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: You know, nothing that Iran does surprises me.

Released on May 8, 2006

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