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John R. Bolton: Remarks on Sudan

Remarks on Sudan

Ambassador John R. Bolton, U.S. Representative to the United Nations
Remarks at a Security Council Stakeout
New York City
February 3, 2006

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: OK, well, the Security Council has just issued a Presidential Statement concerning the situation in Darfur. The effect of the statement would be to initiate contingency planning by the Secretariat for the possible transition from the AMIS force to a UN force. The statement emphasizes the significance the Security Council attaches to this matter and demonstrates the Council's intention to remain very closely involved with the planning process as it evaluates different contingencies and options and at the same time, emphasizes the importance of continuing support for AMIS until the possible transition is completed. Beyond that, I obviously read the statement in the Council Chamber. I don't really have anything to add to it but I'd be happy to try and address any questions you have on it.

REPORTER: Ambassador, (inaudible) you, yourself have repeatedly said that the Security Council needs to take sort of a different look at peacekeeping, resolving issues rather than sort of adding troops maybe or creating missions. Is the U.S. sort of now committed to the, will be a UN peacekeeping mission, in supplying the money and possibly even the equipment to that or (inaudible) is there a set plan and you're really withholding support for the idea in the long run.

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Well, I think we've made it clear we're going to support this transition. And Deputy Secretary Zoellick has made that clear, Secretary Rice has made it clear and that's why this first step accomplished as quickly as it was during February, I think, shows the seriousness of the commitment. The necessity of planning is felt by everyone and it's a complicated and operationally, logistically difficult mission. But beginning the planning is the important first step and that we have kicked off today with this Presidential Statement which, you all know, by definition reflects the unanimous Security Council.

REPORTER: Ambassador, the Secretary General expressed concern the last couple of weeks that countries with the military capacity to really project force are not willing, to sort of, to step up in Sudan. Can you give us some indication whether the United States or the European Union will play some direct role in the peacekeeping operation, U.S boots on the ground, and also will the United States play a role in actively trying to recruit countries to provide troops or will you leave that up to the SG?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Yeah, I think part of the answer is that it's premature to speculate on that but one of the reasons it was important to proceed with this Presidential Statement is that the Secretariat has not been asking governments for commitments for a UN force because it didn't have any authority to do so. So now with this authority clearly in hand through this Presidential Statement they can begin to ask the questions of governments that might be considering participating in the operation in Darfur to which we could transition from AMIS.

REPORTER: (Inaudible) U.S troops on the ground?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: And I said it was premature at this point. It's something that U.S. military planners will work very closely with the Secretariat on that and we're trying to evaluate what's necessary in Darfur, building from the AMIS mission.

REPORTER: The statement also says that they should use the troops that are now in Southern Sudan. Does that mean no new troops or just something to look at?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: No, it doesn't say that. What it says is that during the contingency planning they should look for, in effect, the most efficient way to proceed. And there's obviously both an UNMIS presence in Southern Sudan and the AMIS Force and it's not a question of using some or part of it, it's a question of just logistically and operationally proceeding in the most logical fashion.

REPORTER: (Inaudible) before formal authorization, which this isn't because neither the AU nor Sudan has made their decision their legal decision.

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Right. And I think statement several times emphasizes the importance of close consultations with the AU and we certainly intend to carry through on that.

REPORTER: (Inaudible) I asked, can the UN really recruit before they're given a formal authorization.

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: They can certainly solicit indications of interest, yes.

REPORTER: Can you talk about what the Council (inaudible) during the month of your Presidency in regards to Iran?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Well, right now I'm waiting for a decision from the IAEA Board of Governors and when that decision is made, whenever it's made, then we'll go from there.

REPORTER: Do you think that the fact that the delay in the vote of the IAEA, they're not voting until tomorrow now, is that something that worries you, are you still confident that it will be reported to the Security Council?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: As a veteran of many IAEA Board meetings, even in Washington rather than in Vienna, this delay doesn't surprise me in the slightest and does not reflect, I think, any change from our consistent view that the Board can and will report the Iranian nuclear weapons program to the Security Council.

REPORTER: (Inaudible)

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Before I answer two questions from you, let's go to somebody else.

REPORTER: (Inaudible)

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: As I said yesterday, we are reviewing it closely. I've been in here doing this Sudan business and don't really have anything further to say at this point.

REPORTER: Ambassador, are you planning a resolution this month (inaudible).

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: The purpose of today's Presidential Statement was to kick-off contingency planning and my instructions and my intentions are very clear, which is to move as far and as fast as we can during the month of February. So that's what I'm going to do.

REPORTER: (Inaudible).

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: I thought I said I wasn't going to answer two questions from the same purpose. Well, I think a lot of this involves close consultation with the AU and as their decision-making process evolves, ours will evolve as well.

REPORTER: Were you able to start on time today?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: No, but it started five minutes earlier than it did yesterday. And we have agreed that we will meet at 9:45 Monday to consider an Ivory Coast related resolution and then at 10:00 to hear Senator Lugar. I might say that the Council did agree today to conduct daily meetings, for briefings by the Secretariat, on hotspots and crises and overnight events around the world, as I had requested.

REPORTER: (Inaudible) on the PRST on Palestinian elections?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: We're working actively on that and may have additional news for you later today.

REPORTER: (Inaudible)

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Yes, in other words, if there were a meeting in the Council already scheduled we would do the briefing from the Secretariat and the exchange with members, the informal exchange with members of the Council and then move on to the regular business of the Council. The first of these daily briefings will occur on Tuesday. We expect it would be principally involved with the election in Haiti, which takes place that day. Okay, many thanks, see you later.

Released on February 3, 2006

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