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John R. Bolton On Hugo Chavez Speech To UNGA

Briefing on Speech Given by Venezuelan President Chavez in the 61st UN General Assembly

Ambassador John R. Bolton, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations
Remarks to the media following a Security Council Stakeout
New York City
September 20, 2006


Ambassador Bolton: I just have a minute. I understand that President Chavez of Venezuela had some interesting things to say in the General Assembly this morning. You know it's a phenomenon of the United States that not only can he say those things in the General Assembly, he could walk over to Central Park and exercise freedom of speech in Central Park too and say pretty much whatever he wanted. Too bad President Chavez doesn't extend the same freedom of speech to the people of Venezuela. That's my comment on his speech.

Reporter: (Inaudible) host country and that he deliberately singled out President Bush, I mean, you just -- something more specific on that.

Ambassador Bolton: You know, it's insulting. The way I look at this is -- I have serious work to do, and I'm not going to respond to that speech.

Reporter: But, he got a lot of positive applause afterwards. I mean, isn't it an issue that maybe has to be addressed in some way, this criticism.

Ambassador Bolton: We're not going to address that sort of a comic script approach to international affairs, and as I say, the real issue here is he knows he can exercise freedom of speech on that podium and as I say, he could exercise it at Central Park too. Try giving the same freedom to the people of Venezuela.

Reporter: Are there any plans to have more talks this week? All the foreign ministers are in town, or is it simply going to be left to Javier Solana to continue his --

Ambassador Bolton: I think it will be left to Mr. Solana for the next step.

Released on September 20, 2006


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