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Remarks on Iran, Syria, and Lebanon

Ambassador John R. Bolton, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations
Remarks at a Security Council Stakeout
New York City
May 17, 2006

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: The United States is very pleased with the passage of Resolution 1680. It does a number of things for the first time. First, it explicitly refers to the role of not just Syria, but of Iran, in bringing stability to Lebanon by referring to the Secretary General's report. It makes clear that the burden is now on Syria to respond to Lebanon's request for border delineation and the full exchange of diplomatic relations. It clearly says to Syria that it needs to do more to stop the flow of weapons across the Syrian/Lebanese border. And it makes it clear that all the further disarming of all militias inside Lebanon is an important priority. So we are quite pleased with this vote, 13 to nothing. We, of course, wish it had been higher, but unanimity is desirable, but not a prerequisite for Council Action. We thought it was important in this case to respond with a resolution to the Secretary General's report not a presidential statement as some delegations wanted and that's what we've done. So we think this is another important step forward in the implementation of 1559, which we continue to follow closely as well, of course, as the implementation of 1595, the investigation into the Hariri assassination.

REPORTER: Mr. Ambassador, there is no mention of Iran in the resolution; and B, you have 2 abstentions, now is this not a lot less in it's (inaudible) than what you had expected?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Certainly not, let me just read the mellifluous words of the resolution in operative paragraph 3: reiterates also "it's call on all concerned states and parties as mentioned in the Secretary General's report." Now the two states that are mentioned are Iran and Syria, so there is no ambiguity in what that phrase means. It certainly could have named Iran in its full four letters, but that reference makes it unambiguously clear that Iran is referred to. And you know, you can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you might find you get what you need.

REPORTER: Mr. Ambassador, is there a time frame for the application of this new resolution 1680?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: There is not a time frame specified but I think as with all progress under 1559 we want to accomplish this expeditiously. I think that's what Prime Minister Siniora emphasized in his appearance before the Council and that's a high priority for us as well.

REPORTER: Ambassador, or should I call you Mick? (laughter)

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Not Michael, that's for sure.

REPORTER: Does this potentially though complicate what's the effort on the nuclear side with Iran, this push that you are making here.

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: The only complication is Iran's continued support for terrorism and its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. When Iran is prepared to give that up it can have a different relationship with us as the government of Libya has proven, and as we have proven reciprocally just in the past few days.

REPORTER: Ambassador, can you enlighten us about the delay of the political directors meeting until next week?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: I think it's a variety of reasons, some scheduling. I think it was stated last night that there's going to be a bilateral meeting between India and the United States on the nuclear issue in London next week as well. I think there are a variety of factors.

REPORTER: If the package is meant to bring both the United States and Iran back to the negotiating table, does this package mean that there are deeper divisions?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Well, I wouldn't comment and I wouldn't read too much significance into this. As I understand it, the meeting is going to take place maybe on Tuesday or Wednesday. And I think this is scheduling and just the internal decision making progress.

REPORTER: Ambassador, does the U.S. support the E 3 proposal for this light water reactor?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Well, now I did answer that question yesterday, I'll see if I can remember what the answer is and give it to you exactly again. We are not going to comment on individual elements, this has to be taken as a package and the package has two halves, incentives and disincentives. We're not going to support half a package and we're waiting for the whole package to be put together.

REPORTER: Ambassador, you know what Syria's position is on the delineation of borders and on the exchange of diplomats. So what is expected next if Syria sticks to its position and says no they will not delineate the border except from the north and excluding Shebaa Farms?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: I'd rather not speculate on that. I'd rather assume that Syria take Security Council resolutions seriously and we'll see what their response is.

REPORTER: How else are you going to support the Lebanese consensus on this issue? This is step one-

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: I think this is a clear message by the Security Council to Syria that we expect them to respond to the offers that the government of Lebanon has very responsibly made. We'll give Syria some period of time to do that then in consultation with the government of Lebanon we'll decide what to do next. I need to get back inside, I'll come back a little bit later too if that is okay.

Released on May 17, 2006

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