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Briefing on Nonproliferation

Ambassador Alejandro Wolff, Permanent U.S. Representative to the United Nations
Remarks to the media following a Security Council Stakeout;
New York City
March 19, 2007


Ambassador Wolff: Hi everyone.

Reporter: (Off mike) -- the Security Council this week, or -- ?

Ambassador Wolff: No, well, I understand that their visas will be issued so we're just awaiting the scheduling of the adoption of the resolution so we know the date that's going to be.

Reporter: Speaking of that resolution, we understand that one of the elected members, South Africa, has offered some substantive amendments. Have you had a chance to look at those and what were your reaction to the U.S. position on that?

Ambassador Wolff: They're being studied. We have a very good resolution that's been introduced that provides the appropriate framework to proceed. We'll be studying members' observations and comments on those. Looking forward to an early adoption, hopefully this week.

Reporter: (Off mike) -- said that the tone of the resolution is too tough on Iran and it's not helpful when it as tough as it is.

Ambassador Wolff: Well, I don't think it's too tough. I think it's appropriate. And we'll wait and see what the coterie comments in the council are. We have not heard from them yet.

Reporter: Ambassador Churkin came out and said he was not pleased with the remarks by Mr. Rucker about -- on Kosovo. That he felt went beyond talking about -- (inaudible) -- to discussing the ultimate final status and the inevitability of independence. And in fact, he described it as a sermon delivered in the Security Council.

Did the U.S. view this the same way? Do you think that he went a little too far and the discussion, you know, went into areas that he shouldn't have gone?

Ambassador Wolff: Well, we heard the same briefing and drew a different conclusion. Mr. Rucker gave a very, you know, balanced objective presentation. He described the situation on the ground, which is his mandate as the secretary-general's special representative -- the situation, as it stands over the past several weeks.

He talked about decentralization. He talked about the rights of minorities. He talked about violence. All of these things that are the right -- you know, the appropriate issues and subjects for him to touch upon. So we were very pleased with the report and said so.

Reporter: Ambassador, can you -- I know you talked about the visas, but what does the appearance of the Iranian president mean for the future of the Iranian crisis and resolution? Does it help or hurt his presence, from a diplomatic point of view, to be in touch face-to-face?

Ambassador Wolff: Well, our focus, of course, is going to be on the resolution itself. I don't know what his motivations are for coming -- whether it's theater or whether it's serious. As I've said before, I find it odd that an individual who has such a dismissive attitude towards the council itself is so eager to come and address it. So I leave any of those other Reporter:uestions about what these mean to what this means to others.

Reporter: Russia has now suggested that perhaps it's time for Mr. Ahtisaari to step aside because he's reached a deadlock in negotiations. Does the U.S. still have confidence in him and think he should remain as the lead negotiator for the UN on Kosovo?

Ambassador Wolff: We have tremendous confidence in President Ahtisaari. He's been doing outstanding work. He's been working at this issue for over a year. And to the extent that there is a deadlock or inability to, you know, break out of the current impasse, it's not President Ahtisaari's fault. Thanks very much.

Released on March 19, 2007

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