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Amb. Bolton: Remarks on Afghanistan and Iran

Remarks on Afghanistan and Iran

Ambassador John R. Bolton, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations
Remarks at the Security Council Stakeout
New York City
January 17, 2006

REPORTER: On Afghanistan, (inaudible)?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Well, we are obviously concerned about the security situation, but we are looking forward to the conference in London on January 31-February 1 to carry the bond process really the next step forward and create a compact for Afghanistan where the security problems can be addressed more fully. And that's really what this briefing was in preparation for, to get ready for that conference. And the United States will be making a major pledge in support of Afghan development at that point and we'll go from there. I think other governments will make substantial pledges as well. So this was really in preparation for that conference.

REPORTER: Do you know who from the US will be attending?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: I don't think that's been announced yet and I don't think I'd better announce it here.

REPORTER: On Iran, (inaudible) what makes you think the Security Council can (inaudible) this matter?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Well, I think the issue of Iran's nuclear weapons program is a classic threat to international peace and security, which is why we have felt for some time that the matter should be on the Security Council's agenda. That's not to say that in any way the IAEA will be displaced. Quite the contrary, we think that Security Council involvement brings the possibility of strengthening the hand of the IAEA in dealing with the Iranian nuclear weapons program. There are obviously no guarantees in the Council. This will be a test for the Council, and appropriately so, because the Iranian pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missile delivery systems threatens their region and threatens the world as a whole. But it is because the Council does have that responsibility under the Charter that we think it should be addressed here, not that it's a guarantee of success.

REPORTER: Are you confident that the Chinese and the Russians can be brought around to at least abstain on a referral to the Council?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Well, I really shouldn't comment on the IAEA state of play. The consultations yesterday in London addressed that. I'm sure there will be more consultations. We're really here in a waiting mode here for the next step, which will take place, we think in Vienna, hopefully the 2nd of February.

REPORTER: (inaudible) next Secretary General?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: It wasn't at the South Korean Mission, no. But I think any comments on that should come from the South Korean government.

REPORTER: Did you relay any sort of U.S. government thinking on the candidacy of the (inaudible)?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: No, we had a general discussion. I've known the Foreign Minister since he served in Washington in the Bush 41 administration and have very high regard for him. And we talked about a number of issues that was one of them. Okay, thanks a lot.

Released on January 17, 2006

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