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Remarks Iran, Sudan, 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 5, 2006

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Well, I understand you already know our work schedule tomorrow so I suppose all I can say really is that Max Vapor would be pleased that the Protestant work ethic is alive and well in the Security Council at least as far as Saturday goes. We'll see how many more meetings we have. But we had a discussion in the Council after we talked about the Sudan question and that was the decision we made to have meetings tomorrow, which I think is a good thing. I think this is an urgent issue. I think there is a lot of work to be done, a lot of discussions to be had. And I think most Americans would be surprised that the Security Council wasn't willing to work on Saturday, but we're glad to be here.

REPORTER: (Inaudible) regarding Chapter VII, why don't you put the specific? What is it actually that the U.S. wants in Chapter VII?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: The formulation in what is now preambular paragraph 8, acting under Chapter VII, is a formulation that's been used in dozens of Security Council resolutions and it's a standard formulation and I think everybody knows what it means, that's why the drafters put it in there and that's why we think it is appropriate to use. And what it does, in this kind of resolution, is make the decisions that the Council takes in the operative paragraph mandatory. That is the effect of evoking Chapter VII and that's why we want to do it.

REPORTER: It's also military?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: That's simply not true.

REPORTER: Then why don't you put, then, that military is not one of the issues in Chapter VII?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Because the policy of the United States is that we don't rule out the Security Council taking any necessary steps. Although our priority is a peaceful and diplomatic solution, but my point is that the formulation acting under Chapter VII is a formulation used in dozens of resolutions where the use of force is never contemplated. So this is a standard, plain vanilla formulation that we've used in many other circumstances to make the decisions in the resolution mandatory. That is the purpose of it.

REPORTER: (Inaudible)

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Well, we are still having discussions and that's why we are having another meeting tomorrow morning of the Perm 5. Okay, can I please ask the other reporters to get a chance to have one question, please?

REPORTER: If you are willing to consider any other formulation that would have the same legal

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: If there is another formulation that achieves the same result. That is to say to make the decisions of the February Board of Governors of the IAEA reflected in the Security Council's last Presidential Statement mandatory, of course we'll take a look at it but we haven't heard those formulations yet.

REPORTER: You've been around here for a long time.

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: I haven't been around here.

REPORTER: For almost 15 years.

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: 25 years, we'll get this right soon. Go ahead, keep trying.

REPORTER: Do you foresee any kind of a compromise where Chapter VII will not be listed in this resolution?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Well, as I just said, if there is another formulation that accomplishes the same thing then we'd like to see it. But it is not our job to invent what will satisfy the Russians and the Chinese. We have a formulation that is standard in Security Council practice, it's a good formulation; it's a formulation we should use. If there is something else, let's see it.

REPORTER: Ambassador, there are some delegations that are saying why are you pushing this to a crisis over the weekend? What is the essential need to have all these talks over the weekend when there is more time? Just one more, is there any change in thoughts about the U.S. having direct talks with Iran?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: What did the last part of the question have to do with the first part of the question?

REPORTER: Separate, but related.

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: The answer to the second question is no. The answer to the first question is that I think in the kind of informal meeting that we're talking about tomorrow, that our experience in the consideration of the Presidential Statement on Iran, showed that it's a way of exploring issues and answering some questions in a relaxed atmosphere off campus. That's a productive way to proceed. We're all busy during the day. I said in there that this is a very busy period for the Council. We have Sudan, which even if we didn't have anything else to do, would be an extraordinarily important and time-consuming issue. We have Syria/Lebanon, we have Ethiopia/Eritrea. There are a range of issues before the Council and Iran is certainly one of them. So, you know, the American way of doing things is when you have a lot of work to do, you work extra hours, and that doesn't imply crisis, it means you have a lot of work to do. And obviously, globalization has proven it is not simply an American habit but the other members of the Council are willing to engage in it too. I don't see what the big deal is; I work on Saturday anyway, even if I don't have the other 14 members of the Security Council with me. There is a lot of work to do in this business.

REPORTER: Ambassador, Article 41 defines sanctions as measures and the next step in Chapter VII is military force so I mean is the language?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Actually, that's not true.

REPORTER: (inaudible)

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Hang on, I am just turning the page.

REPORTER: (inaudible)

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: 42 says for example, complete or partial interruption of economic relations. So it's more than just the imposition of sanctions, there are other possibilities as well. But let me just read one other thing. I shouldn't have put it away. In 42, it also refers to such actions may include demonstrations, blockades.

REPORTER: (inaudible)

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Blockades, for example, in the history of sanctions, although we're not contemplating at this stage the breadth of sanctions included in 661. It was important in dealing with the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait to pass 665, which authorized the interdiction of ships that were trying to break the sanctions. Now that didn't involve any use of force against Iraq, but it did involve enforcement of the sanctions, so that if sanctions are imposed, if the Security Council is serious about sanctions, steps should be taken. Now that could include a variety of steps, but that's why this dichotomy that's been set up about use of force, not use of force, is not a useful dichotomy; and why the indication of the entire breadth of Chapter VII provides the Security Council with flexibility and discretion, which is why we suggest it.

REPORTER: (inaudible) the phrase of further measures as radioactive?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: That question has been raised, but I think the drafters of the resolution have explained that the purpose of operative paragraphs 7 and 8 where that phrase appears is precisely to say that, by the terms of the paragraph itself, that any decision on such measures has to come back before the Council. And those who oppose any further measures can vote against them, and if they're permanent member and vote against it, it's a veto. So it is, I think, misreading the intent of the drafters in looking at that paragraph to say that they're suggesting or foreshadowing, or heaven forbid the dreaded word automaticity, that's just not there. The purpose, the intent, the language of those paragraphs is to do exactly the opposite.

REPORTER: The resolution doesn't say there has to be a second resolution; it says there has to be further examination. (Inaudible) is it your position they'll have to come back to pass a resolution for the use of military force?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: It says that the further examination is a predicate to the Council taking action. That's the way - I mean, I didn't draft this paragraph, and as I said before, there are lots of things I would have drafted differently. But that's the clear meaning of what that provision is that it has to come back before the Council for further decision.

REPORTER: So your position is that there will be no decision to take force against Iran unless there's another resolution that explicitly authorizes it? The U.S. would agree to that?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: It's not a question of - the issue here is not confined to the use of force. The question is if Iran does not comply with this resolution making mandatory the requirements of the IAEA Board, any further action by the Council, any further action has to come back for another decision.

REPORTER: What's the mood?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: It's happy. People are looking forward to working on Saturday. We had a debate should we do it in the morning, should we do it in the afternoon. I volunteered to do both, but also the Council will meet in the afternoon.

REPORTER: Is there a sense - you originally thought there may be a vote before Monday. Do you feel that even if there's not a vote before Monday when the Foreign Ministers are here there's a sense that you're going to come up with a compromise?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: I think what we were trying to do, and we've explained, I think all of the ambassadors of the five permanent members have explained that the hope that our ministers have is that, I think, at their discussion on Monday evening they can look ahead; they can talk about the broader policy issues and avoid getting caught up in the drafting of this resolution. Now look, it's up to them, if they want to do it, they're fully capable of doing it. I'd be happy to have Secretary Rice drafting with any of the Foreign Ministers, but it's not the highest and best use of their time, which is scarce, to be marking up the text. Now if we can achieve agreement, great, if we can narrow the differences and come close, that's great too. The Ministers, at least it's in their discretion what they want to do, but if we're able to conclude, then they could, by definition, turn entirely to other things. It's up to them, but our job, down at the engine room level, is to try and get that done so that up on the bridge they can look out.

REPORTER: Ambassador, your reference to 665, I was wondering if you were looking to create some sort of Security Council authorization for a PSI, Proliferation Security Initiative, type measure that would interdict or contain Iran?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: I think you should read Resolution 1540, which I don't have a copy of, but in a critical paragraph it says that, it calls upon all states to cooperate in stopping the illicit trafficking of weapons and materials of mass destruction in international commerce, which of course is what PSI is all about. So that authorization - that support for PSI is already there. Let me just take one or two.

REPORTER: The Security Council has met before on a Saturday or on a weekend, you're making it sound like these countries have never (inaudible). I think it was budget cuts demanded by the US that wanted to keep costs down here (inaudible).

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: I know the press is often here on the weekend. I salute you for that.

REPORTER: What about on Sudan? It seems a little odd that Secretary General Annan called for the public to send in contributions, he asked for governments to step up to the plate, but he was kind of saying, it was almost like a telethon, let's start raising money for Sudan. Is it really the place of people who've called for (inaudible)?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: I think it's the experience of the American public that the (inaudible) support that we engage in is a very substantial source of humanitarian assistance around the world. In Darfur, and before it the North-South struggle in Sudan, has produced a real outpouring of support for humanitarian assistance from Americans for years now. So although I couldn't give you the exact figures, I bet they'd be impressive if you totaled them together. I think that's a reflection of how we do things. We don't rely on the government to tax us and do everything for us. So I think we'd obviously support the Secretary General's call.

REPORTER: (inaudible)

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: I think most of the contributions would probably go through non-governmental organizations. I didn't understand the Secretary General to be asking for donations to the government of Sudan.

REPORTER: (inaudible) do you trust the agreement overall?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Well, I think I said earlier, we think this is an important first step. Bob Zoellick and many others have been out there working very hard on it. The job I think we have to do here is to speed up the transition from the African Mission in Sudan to the UN Mission in Darfur and also to strengthen the African Mission force while that transition takes place. And I think that's why it's very important, and I was heartened that a number of people in the discussion in the Council today supported the point the we had made, that it's really imperative right now on the government of Sudan to let these military planners in so that the contingency planning that the Secretariat's been trying to do can advance. Because that is the perturbation on the critical path at this point, if we can't get that work done, we risk delaying the transition, which I think none of us want to do.

REPORTER: (inaudible)

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Well, we have no plans on Sunday as I said. If it's all night, it's all right. Twenty-four, seven, whatever it takes. I think this is important, I mean in all seriousness, it's important; and having a sense of urgency is important. So we'll work tomorrow and we'll see how far we can get.

REPORTER: If you get agreement tomorrow is there any chance you'll be announcing it tomorrow?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: We're not predicating, we don't have a timetable or a target. We just know that it takes time to do this. And we'll take some of that time on the weekend.

REPORTER: (inaudible)

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: I think the Foreign Secretary was planning to be here for the Commission on Sustainable Development anyway, so she's got her, she'll be here and I'm sure she's ready to go.


Released on May 5, 2006

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