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Briefing on the Situation in Somalia

Ambassador Jackie W. Sanders, Alternative Representative for Special Political Affairs to the United Nations
Remarks to the Security Council
New York City
January 10, 2007


Ambassador Sanders: Ambassador Churkin's coming to make a statement shortly, so I'll just be brief.

We just finished an extensive conversation in the council about Somalia, which is a very serious situation. We think that at this point it is an opportunity, though, for -- hopefully to get some stability there, to get EGASOM in on the ground and to address the humanitarian situation.

So with that, I could take a question or two.

Reporter: (Inaudible) -- situation, do you think that the collateral damage and the humanitarian losses -- (Inaudible) -- certain figures of al Qaeda is justified?

Ambassador Sanders: I haven't seen any figures on that at all, but I would say that addressing the al Qaeda situation and terrorists all over the world is something that we plan to do, the president has said we're going to do and we will continue to do.

Reporter: Apparently you mentioned or you read the -- the U.S. airstrikes in Somalia inside the council. Could you talk about what you said and what the reaction was?

Ambassador Sanders: There was not any discussion about it. In my general statement about Somalia, at the close of it I did say that we could confirm that there was a strike against a high-level terrorist leader, al Qaeda leader. Al Qaeda, as you know, blew up two of our embassies in 1998. We have a long memory when it comes to terrorists killing innocent Americans and in this case Africans. And in this case we were going after those folks who were involved.

Reporter: What's the balance if in fact civilians were also killed in those attacks? And what's the U.S.'s position on Kenya opening its border to those trying to flee Somalia in the fighting?

Ambassador Sanders: I don't know anything about numbers on civilians. There was some discussion about the Kenyan border and questions more than anything at this point about what it means. Thank you.

Released on January 11, 2007

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