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Briefing on Kosovo

Ambassador Alejandro D. Wolff, Deputy U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations
Remarks to the media following a Security Council Stakeout
New York City
June 20, 2007


Ambassador Wolff: Hello. Two European members of the council just introduced a revised version of our proposed revolution on Kosovo which the United States has co-sponsored. We’ve had a very brief discussion on that and you should be seeing and hearing more about that a little bit later. As I said we had a good opportunity to explain the new elements there underscoring and the importance of the implementation of the Ahtissari plan and the expectation that this would result in Kosovo’s independence.

Reporter: Ambassador, previously the U.S. has made the case that delay would not be productive, that would in fact create a perhaps dangerous situation with a unilateral declaration of independence. Now you seem to be saying “Okay, we’re willing to delay.”, why the change?

Ambassador Wolff: Well, the delay is designed to allow for continuing negotiations; something that several members of the council believed would be useful. The outcome of this process is still the same outcome and so I think the Kosovars will understand that again there is an expectation among many that the ideal solution would be agreement between the parties. This allows a little more time to see if that’s possible. It may not be possible and the resolution allows for immediate steps after the period of negotiation to implement the Ahtissari provisions.

Reporter: Ambassador, what do you think of the denial of UNDP that there was a threat against one of your colleagues in the U.S. mission, which was detailed in that letter of Ambassador Khalilzad?

Ambassador Wolff: I stand by the letter of Ambassador Khalilzad.

Reporter: When do you expect the resolution on Kosovo can go to voting?

Ambassador Wolff: Well, as I said, we’ll probably need to have a round of consultations in the council. Most of the elements should not come as a surprise, in fact are essentially the same as previous ones. So it shouldn’t take much time for members to digest the new provisions or the adjustments we’ve made. And we will be consulting with the co-sponsors and deciding when to move forward.

Reporter: One more question, anything to say about the Human Rights Council and it’s, the outcome of its session?

Ambassador Wolff: Well, the outcome is most disappointing. I remind those of you who don’t recall the United States voted against this council, fearing exactly what we’re seeing, a pathological obsession with Israel and in this case now terminating special rapporteurs on two long standing violators of human rights, Belarus and Cuba. And I think the record is starting to speak for itself. We would welcome an improved human rights process in the UN. We very much want to see a human rights council that functions effectively, credibly, and addresses the real issues confronting the world and human rights violations today.

Reporter: Mr. Ambassador, one follow up question on Kosovo, was there any reaction in the Council, particularly from the members who had some serious questions about the original draft?

Ambassador Wolff: Yes, there was one reaction by a member that had serious questions with the previous draft and I’m sure Ambassador Churkin will be happy to describe his reaction to you.

Reporter: Ambassador, could you just flesh out, if possible from your end, this idea of sending Tony Blair as an envoy to the Middle East?

Ambassador Wolff: I actually have to admit I’m not familiar with the idea so I won’t be able to elaborate on it.

Reporter: Ambassador, how quickly would the U.S. like to see a resolution move ahead now that the hybrid force agreed to? On really outlining the mandate for that force in a resolution and getting that adopted?

Ambassador Wolff: Well, as you know we have always focused on implementation of these agreements and the deployment of the hybrid force. So, we want to see that deployment done expeditiously. We want to see implementation of all the other obligations that the Sudanese say they have agreed to pursued immediately. So, this is not something we expect any delay on or would want to see any delay on.

Reporter: So, will we see a draft resolution circulated and a vote called for perhaps by the end of this month?

Ambassador Wolff: Well, we’ll wait until, the Council as you know has just been in Khartoum and I have not had an opportunity to sit down with Ambassador Khalilzad who was on the mission and I’m sure the Council will be examining this as soon as they get back. Thank you.

Released on June 20, 2007

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