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Remarks on UNSC Resolution 1701 on Lebanon

Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations
Remarks to the media following a Security Council Stakeout
New York City
August 2, 2007


Ambassador Khalilzad: Well, our decision on the PRST [Presidential Statement] with regard to [UNSC Resolution] 1701, there is still a disagreement with regard to one issue that some of our colleagues, at least one of our colleagues, needs instructions from home, so we hope to finalize it tomorrow. I’d be glad to take some questions.

Reporter: What is the disagreement?

Ambassador Khalilzad: Well, the disagreement is with regard as to whether violators should be named or should be stated generically calling on people not to violate 1701. I think there is almost a consensus to be balanced and name people, but one party, one member of the council would like to just make a generic statement rather than a specific name.

Reporter: The Saudi foreign minister said he was astonished to hear what you said about him and he said that you never actually mentioned that when you were in the region. First of all, what do you think of that and secondly, are you supporting the sales of weapons to Saudi Arabia?

Ambassador Khalilzad: Well, the answer to the second question is yes. Saudi Arabia is an important ally of the United States. It faces threats and appropriate weapons to protect itself is obviously worthy of support and I support it. Second issue, I have stated ever since I have come here with regard to Iraq the following: one, we want the UN to play a more enhanced role with regard to internal reconciliation and regional cooperation and I am pleased that a draft resolution embracing that idea is making progress in discussions among experts. I’ve also stated that we need more cooperation, more help, from the regional friends. That has been a message that I have consistently stated when I’ve been in the region and when I’ve been here. I think it is fair to say that some of the things that I have said people have embellished it and I don’t know what he was asked that I have said to which he responded in the way that he did, so I don’t want to get into that.

Reporter: When you say more cooperation in the region, do you mean including from the Saudis?

Ambassador Khalilzad: Well, we need cooperation from everyone, to help. The level of cooperation we have had from outside…obviously the situation in Iraq is not where it needs to be. Therefore, we need more cooperation from the UN, more of a role, as you have heard me say, we need cooperation from the regional states and of course, particularly, from our friends and allies in the region.

Reporter: Mr. Ambassador, just to bring you back to 1701: I mean, concerning the generic, is it concerning mentioning Israel by name as a violator, is it in terms of Arab violations, or are you referring to another party?

Ambassador Khalilzad: I don’t know whether it’s appropriate for me to get into each of my colleagues particular positions. I’ve gone as far as I would like to on this as to which state wants who named. I think only one state has a little concern and hopefully by tomorrow morning we can overcome it.

Reporter: Are you looking, for example, for the UN to broker an agreement on the borders around Kirkuk? As to where Kirkuk falls within Iraq?

Ambassador Khalilzad: The key goal is to get a national compact among Iraqis on the key issues that still remain to be resolved because that in turn would reduce the sources of violence. It is the competition for political and economic power, territory, if you look at the region, are the issues that feed the violence that is there. In order to reduce the sources of violence, we believe that the UN can help Iraqis come to a national compact, come to an agreement on these big issues on which there are difference and that includes issues such as provincial boundaries that are in dispute.

Reporter: I asked about Kirkuk.

Ambassador Khalilzad: The implementation of the Kirkuk issue is of course one of the big issues as well.

Reporter: They mentioned that the objections of Qatar, to the naming, sorry, a member of the Security Council, excuse me I’m sorry I’ve misspoken, is the reason why you don’t have a PRST today. Are you willing to entertain the request of that member to remove the direct mention of Hezbollah?

Ambassador Khalilzad: The question is that any statement has to be balanced. That you can’t name one party that you think is not behaving entirely consistently with 1701, there were concerns about that, and not name another one. I think there’s broad agreement that the statement has to be balanced. The question is, I mean do you want to drop all names, keep some names, not other names. I think we are very close; everyone is in agreement except one. I am hopeful that tomorrow, 10 o’clock, we have agreed to reconvene, that this issue will be resolved.

Released on August 2, 2007

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