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Remarks on Iran and the Sudan - John R. Bolton

Remarks on Iran and the Sudan

Ambassador John R. Bolton, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations
Remarks at a Security Council stakeout
New York City
April 25, 2006

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Well, as you know, I made a statement inside the Council chamber on the Sudan sanctions resolution and I spoke to you beforehand, so I don't really have anything to add to what I said inside. But I would be happy to answer questions on any of the six meetings that we just had.

REPORTER: The French ambassador just said that the Council has to move very cautiously in terms of future sanctions. You said that this was just a down payment. How strongly is the United States going to be pressing for additional people to be sanctioned?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Well, as the evidence becomes available, within the terms of 1591, we are prepared to press ahead. That is not to say that we are not prepared to be cautious as well, we want to be sure that we have evidence that is appropriate to put the sanctions in place. We have to do that for our own domestic law enforcement purposes, but there is no doubt that additional action will be warranted. And when the information is available we will be prepared to take action.

REPORTER: (Inaudible) just how atrocious are the individuals?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: The four individuals who were sanctioned are some of the individuals responsible for the gross abuses of human rights that have taken place in Darfur. They come from all of the parties to the conflict, that wasn't done intentionally but it does show the nature of the conflict and how serious it is. And there are other possibilities in the future for people who have violated the ceasefire or if there is a peace agreement in Abuja for people who violate the terms of the peace agreement. So there is a wide variety of possibilities for sanctions and we do intend to pursue them vigorously.

REPORTER: (Inaudible)

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: No, I think we are saying that we have sufficient information on these four individuals, that they have committed offenses that warrant the imposition of sanctions. It is one thing to have a general conclusion about the commission of genocide in Darfur, the situation there; it is another to be in a position to oppose sanctions on specific individuals. And that is the test we have to meet because that's the nature of the sanctions we are seeking to oppose.

REPORTER: (Inaudible)

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: There is no excuse no matter what the cause of the hostilities being waged, to commit human rights abuses whatever the other side is doing. The moral equivalence, the fallacy of moral equivalence, in that case is that it is okay to violate international standards on one side, but not the other. It is just not permissible on either side.

REPORTER: Ambassador, the Qatari Ambassador said he hadn't seen sufficient proof to sanction these four individuals. Did he see the same evidence that the other ambassadors who voted for this resolution saw?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: All 15 members of the sanctions committee saw exactly the same evidence. It is certainly up to any individual member of the Council to conclude that evidence is not sufficient. I respect that. Obviously in some cases the United States has not concluded that evidence is sufficient, but in these cases there comes a point where the evidence is more than ample to make the conclusion. We felt that we had met that burden and in this case it was appropriate to proceed with the vote.

REPORTER: What do you think of the fact there were no vetoes?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: It's perfectly clear for a permanent member of the Security Council, if it does not want an action to take place, it casts a no vote. And permanent members are fully aware that when they abstain, assuming there is a nine-vote majority in favor, that they are allowing the sanctions to proceed. So in that sense, we take the Russian and the Chinese abstentions to be acquiescence in the imposition of the sanctions. If they had wanted to stop the sanctions, they could have noted no. As I said in the Council chamber, we regret that the vote was not unanimous, but remember this is the United Nations not the League of Nations . There is no requirement for Council unanimity and we have to be prepared in the appropriate circumstances as we did in 1591, the antecedent to today's resolution, to proceed even if there is less than unanimity.

REPORTER: (inaudible) consultations on Iran and the sanctions there?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: I have no comment on that.

REPORTER: Speaking of Iran , Iran is reaching out to Sudan offering to share their nuclear technology. How does that affect planning for a UN force?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Well, I think I would focus more on the Iran side of that equation. This shows just how irresponsible Iran is and why it represents, in our view, a grave threat of proliferation. This is exactly the kind of conduct we have feared; this is exactly the kind of conduct that risks the spread of sensitive nuclear technology and ultimately the spread of nuclear weapons. It is precisely the reason why the government of Iran constitutes a threat to international peace and security and should be here for action by the Security Council, which we will undertake just as soon as we get the IAEA Director General's report on Friday.

REPORTER: (inaudible) China and Russia supporting the U.S. side in regards to Iran ?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Well, we are in conversation, even now, I expect we will have Perm 5 meetings this week. We all know what's coming on Friday and I think there's based on our past experience, we feel that we ought to begin these consultations and see what the next step is. We believe the next step is a Chapter 7 resolution, making mandatory the existing IAEA resolutions; and we are going to be consulting on that this week. Let me just give everybody a chance to all the way at the extreme right, from my perspective.

REPORTER: Or the extreme left.

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: From your perspective.

REPORTER: What steps is the U.S. considering vis-a-vis Iran on the report that the Secretary General that Iran is supporting Hezbollah (inaudible)?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: We would like to hear from the Secretary General's Special Envoy, Terry Roed Larson, in due course. And I think we are going to contemplate Council action on the unfinished business of getting Syria out of Lebanon under 1559 and possibly under the Hariri investigation under 1595. But we are considering that now, we are in consultation. I think it is appropriate for the Council to take some action and we will be working on that in due course too.

REPORTER: Consultation on a resolution?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Consultation on appropriate action by the Security Council. Anyone who has not asked a question before?

REPORTER: (Inaudible) how do you see the negotiations of the Iranian issue?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Well, in the first place, the resolution that we are contemplating for adoption after the IAEA report would not be a sanctions resolution. It would be a resolution making mandatory under Chapter 7 the existing IAEA resolution. So from our perspective we are going to take it one step at a time.

REPORTER: Why would it have to be under Chapter 7 then? If it is not sanctions?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: To make it mandatory. To make compliance with the resolutions mandatory the international lawyers will tell you that only under Chapter 7 is the action mandatory on all UN members, which of course, Iran is.

REPORTER: Are there any other enforcing mechanisms that could be used other than sanctions?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: We're going to do this one step at a time, as I say, first resolution will be just to make it mandatory. Anything else here?

REPORTER: (Inaudible)

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: I think today's sanction resolution shows that the Security Council is serious, that its resolutions have to complied with, that it is prepared to take enforcement steps if they are not complied with. I think it should indicate to all the parties in the conflict in Darfur, we are determined to bring this to a peaceful resolution and restore peace and security for the people of Darfur who have been most adversely affected by the conflict. All right, one more.

REPORTER: Should western troops be part of a peacekeeping contingent in Darfur ?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: You know, the first thing we need is cooperation from the government of Khartoum to let in the UN assessment team so that the contingency planning that the Department of Peacekeeping Operations is undertaking can be full and complete. And that is something Khartoum needs to do sooner rather than later.

Released on April 25, 2006


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