John R. Bolton - Draft Resolution For HRC
Remarks on the Draft Resolution for the Human Rights Council and Other Matters
Ambassador John R. Bolton,
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations
Remarks at a Security Council Stakeout
New York City
February 23, 2006
AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Well, I think we had a very successful meeting of the Security Council on sexual exploitation and abuse in UN peacekeeping operations. I think this is important to keep the spotlight on the difficulties posed by this unacceptable practice and I was encouraged by the fact there was unanimous support in the Council for increasing our efforts to prevent this in the first place and to prosecute it when it does occur and I refer you to the statement that I made at greater length for the U.S. position. And I'd be happy to answer any questions that you have.
REPORTER: Ambassador, can we ask about your reaction to the Human Rights Council language that's just come out?
AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Well, we don't think at first review that it meets the standards set by the Secretary General himself when this process began. It's certainly not a butterfly in the metaphor that I've been using. We'll be examining it closely and I think it's now time to consider that since the facilitation process is finally over, whether it's to begin real international negotiations on this text.
REPORTER: What do you mean by that Ambassador? Do you mean at a higher level?
AMBASSADOR BOLTON: No, I mean national negotiations instead of going through the facilitator process, to have nations sit across the table from one another and negotiate it.
REPORTER: Isn't that what's been happening?
AMBASSADOR BOLTON: No.
REPORTER: Well, then what's wrong with the text?
AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Well, I think we've laid out in public statements what our position is on things like the importance of keeping the worst violators of human rights off the Council, and a lot of the language we've supported is not in there. As I say, it's no butterfly. We'll have to decide on further review what position to take on this. But that's why I say certainly one option at the moment is to open up real international negotiations. The facilitator process is a process where everybody talks and then the oracle thinks about it and then comes up with the text. As opposed to international negotiations where you put a text on the table and mark it up. That has not really occurred and that is something we'll now have to consider launching to see if we can correct the deficiencies in this draft.
REPORTER: Will the US be calling for that or trying to take leadership?
AMBASSADOR BOLTON: We're going to be consulting. You know we were awaiting the production of this draft and will now consult with other governments.
REPORTER: The Secretary General hopes to put this to a vote in the days to come looking at that March 13 th date in Geneva when the Commission meets. Are you saying the United States would not be in favor of moving to a vote right away?
AMBASSADOR BOLTON: I'm saying the question on when the member governments vote is a question for member governments. And we will consult with other member governments to see what happens next.
REPORTER: Ambassador, (inaudible) decided to renew deliveries to North Korea. Do you have any comment on that?
AMBASSADOR BOLTON: I don't have any comment on it. I know that issue was on their agenda but that's not anything I really have anything to say about at this point.
REPORTER: (Inaudible) this Human Rights Council and the current Commission?
AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Well, as I say, the draft certainly does not live up to the expectations set by the Secretary General himself when he launched this process, and I don't think anybody claims that. In fact, I think based on conversations we've had with other governments, the strongest argument in favor of this draft is that it's not as bad as it could be. So we'll be studying it further.
REPORTER: Can you explain the reason you took the Security Council to see the New York Knicks and if you were hoping for team unity why would you take them to team that is called "Team Titanic" and hasn't one a game once in five weeks?
AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Because the Security Council at last report is here in New York and the owners of the Knicks, Madison Square Garden, and the National Basketball Association were kind enough to provide us with tickets here. And I did, I will say that I did make the strategic decision that we wanted to go to see the Knicks play the Miami Heat, but beyond that it's a courtesy of our fellow New Yorkers.
REPORTER: (Inaudible) to take them to see the winning Yankees, but you took them to see the Knicks?
AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Look, I'm from Baltimore, okay?
REPORTER: Could you make a comment on the verdict that was reached yesterday in Europe regarding the Holocaust denier being sentenced to three years in prison?
AMBASSADOR BOLTON: I don't really have any comment on that. I mean I've watched that in newspapers but that's not anything I have any comment on.
REPORTER: (Inaudible) under the Human Rights Council that you're talking about now?
AMBASSADOR BOLTON: You mean the law about Holocaust denial? You know I just can't comment on that. Any other questions?
REPORTER: Last September the United States was expressing the need to get this Human Rights Council settled quickly. Now it looks like it may be prolonged. What timetable are we working on and do you see a problem with this delay?
AMBASSADOR BOLTON: We have always said we wanted it settled right, and that what we have been looking for is a substantial reform of the existing human rights decision-making machinery in the UN. And the question that is still before us is whether this amounts to a substantial reform.
REPORTER: (Inaudible) one element. The US has called for a two-thirds majority vote in the General Assembly instead of a simple majority. Now we have an absolute majority requiring 96 positive votes. Do you see that as something you can build on (inaudible)?
AMBASSADOR BOLTON:You know I'm not going to comment on any of the specifics. As I said, this does not in our judgment reach the standards set by the Secretary General. And I think that's clear. I haven't heard anybody advocate that position in months. So we have to look at it and a decision will be made in Washington. We'll see what the decision is.
REPORTER: Can you update us on the Sudan sanctions list? Names?
AMBASSADOR BOLTON: The Security Council will meet on Monday to discuss the question of the quarterly report on the Sudan sanctions issue. We are continuing to press for a resolution on the Darfur peacekeeping operations before the end of February. Experts will be meeting to discuss the draft elements of the resolution today and we're continuing to press ahead on it. We'll see what we can do. There's a lot of opposition to it from member governments on the Security Council, but our view is we want to try and get this resolution by the end of the month. So that's what we'll be pressing for.
AMBASSADOR BOLTON: No comment on that. The opposition in the Security Council as was expressed beginning last Friday by a number of member governments is we should not act before the March 3 rd decision by the African Union. Our view is that we should act and that is the position we're advocating.
REPORTER: (Inaudible) with the Secretary General in this late scheduled appointment?
AMBASSADOR BOLTON: We're going to talk about Sudan. Okay, thanks very much.
Released on February 23, 2006