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Remarks on the Security Council Elections

Amb. Alejandro D. Wolff, Deputy U.S. Permanent Representative to the UN
Remarks Outside the General Assembly
New York City
October 16, 2007

USUN PRESS RELEASE #238

Ambassador Wolff: Well you just saw we've had three new members elected to the Council: Burkina Faso, Vietnam and Libya. Two other regional groups, the elections continue. We just had a second round, we'll return shortly and hear the results of that.

Reporter: How did the U.S. vote and its opinion on Libya getting to the Security Council?

Ambassador Wolff: Well you know, the United States doesn't reveal how it votes on these elections. We look forward to working with all new members that are elected. I do want to mention one point, a personal note, I noticed that there were family members from the Pam Am 103 tragedy, an attack, in the room and I know others were watching. Their presence was felt here today. I felt it and I know other delegations felt it.

Reporter: But they feel that the U.S. should have objected or done more to fight it since they feel they haven't been paid full compensation yet as per the agreement to lift sanctions, and the legal agreements over the Lockerbie bombing.

Ambassador Wolff: Well, again, I'm not going to comment at all on how the U.S. voted, what the United States did but the compensation issue is something we are pursuing bilaterally with the Libyan government and will continue to do so.

Reporter: Ambassador, what does it say about the world today that two countries that were traditionally bitter foes of the United States are now going to be sitting with the United States on the Security Council and the U.S. didn't really do anything to try and block them as you had in the past? Although I don't know about the case with Vietnam, but certainly with Libya? I mean, what does it say about how the world has changed in the last 20 years, 30 years?

Ambassador Wolff: Well, the world obviously does change and it's not the first time that's happened in this organization. When you think of how the organization emerged and now the role that Germany and Japan play. They were enemy states when the charter was adopted and they are now among the most responsible actors in the international arena and friends of the United States as you can imagine. So the world changes, again we look forward to working with the new members. Thanks very much.

Reporter: Ambassador, just a curiosity that a country that was a pariah now is helping the U.S. on intelligence and renounced terrorism is now on - a very quick turn but it's unique, it doesn't happen that often

Ambassador Wolff: Well again, the issues we have with individual countries around the world are not immutable. Relations evolve, Vietnam is an excellent example. We have a very good burgeoning bilateral relationship. After a very difficult history with Vietnam and again we look forward to working with them and congratulate them on their election. Thanks again.



Released on October 16, 2007

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