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Briefing on Kosovo

Ambassador Alejandro D. Wolff, Deputy U.S. Permanent Representative to the UN
Remarks to the media following a Security Council Stakeout
New York City
June 22, 2007


Ambassador Wolff: Good afternoon, I think you just heard from the President of the Council, we had a good discussion, the delegation presented their views and we had another opportunity to explain what this draft resolution does and how it allows the Security Council to remain engaged, and that it was time for the Security Council to take up its responsibilities on this issue and help the parties turn the page on the last chapter on the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia.

Reporter: Ambassador, we understand that there will be another experts meeting, but how far is the group of co-sponsors willing to go with this before you say, if Russia isn’t willing to engage, and you are sort of stuck on the fundamentals, let’s just take a vote, what is the out look as far as that goes?

Ambassador Wolff: Well, there are other members of the council we have to hear from as well. There are 15 votes on this council and there are other members who spoke up, and we owe them, and we actually have incorporated improvements from them, and we expect we will be able to accommodate further improvements. We very much want to engage with the Russian Federation and are always ready and available to hear any ideas they have for improvement and will leave it to Ambassador Churkin to speak for himself on this, but we have a sense of where their concerns are, we think we have gone a long way to addressing those concerns and we hope this council can move on this issue soon.

Reporter: When will there be a vote?

Ambassador Wolff: It is hard to predict when to there might be a vote.

Reporter: What are next steps?

Ambassador Wolff: We have experts meeting on Monday. We have some delegations that still have not received instructions, and hopefully will receive them in time and not everyone spoke, so maybe through the experts meeting, we will be able to find out what other issues remain that we can work on.

Reporter: Did you feel from the delegation that did speak that you were making headway in getting more of a consensus for the resolution?

Ambassador Wolff: I certainly think we are making headway in the direction of those delegations that have expressed some concerns previously, and I think a number of them acknowledged that. And I think we feel very good about the movement today and our sense is that we are well on our way towards a resolution that should have sufficient if not more then sufficient support to adopt.

Reporter: The fact that Kosovo Albanians are saying if the Security Council doesn’t get a move on it they are going to declare independence anyway, and they aren’t going to wait on it forever. Is there a clock ticking in that regard?

Ambassador Wolff: Well the council had a discussion about the situation on the ground. We are all very conscious about expectations and about the tension there, but we will be looking at the issue, evaluating all aspects, and will be acting when we are ready.

Reporter: Another subject. Ambassador Churkin said last night that there will be no vote on the future of UNMOVIC next week; I am curious where the U.S. stands. He said that there will be no vote period.

Ambassador Wolff: Well, I am not aware that he is sponsoring the resolution and it is the sponsors that get to call for the vote, so we will have to wait and see.

Reporter: Will the vote be next week?

Ambassador Wolff: I have not dealt with that issue today, so I will get that answer for you shortly.

Released on June 22, 2007

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