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Bolton: Ethiopia/Eritrea, USG Selection & Ors.

Briefing on Ethiopia/Eritrea, the Selection of the Next Secretary-General, and Other Matters

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 26, 2006


Ambassador Bolton: If I told you I didn't have anything to say, how would you respond to that?

Reporter: Questions?

Ambassador Bolton: Go ahead. Until the chime rings.

Reporter: Eritrea, Ambassador. Yesterday, the Eritrean Health Minister seemed to say that there was some kind of U.S. plot to tilt the peace process in favor of Eritrea -- I'm sorry, in favor of Ethiopia by adding an outside advisor to the (inaudible) several steps. Is this something that's going on, and how do you respond?

Ambassador Bolton: No, I don't really know what those comments refer to. We will be discussing Ethiopia/Eritrea obviously at this meeting and the failure to make progress on the boundary delineation is obviously still a problem and a reflection that the Peacekeeping mission itself is not accomplishing its objective. But we're not trying to tilt it one way or the other, we want the parties to carry through on the agreement that they made and have not been living up to.

Reporter: Ambassador, the Washington Times reported today that Iran and the European Union are close to a -- what was a secret deal I guess -- for them to suspend uranium enrichment for 90 days as sort of a prelude or while talks begin. How would the U.S. feel about such a proposal?

Ambassador Bolton: Well, I haven't seen the reports so I'd rather not comment on it. The discussions are being carried on by Javier Solana and he is reporting them to us. So until there is something that we have to react to I think it is probably better not to comment on it. See I told you I didn't have much to say this morning.

Reporter: But you haven't heard from him on that proposal? He hasn't reported back anything (inaudible)?

Ambassador Bolton: He will be meeting shortly with Larijani and I think we'll here from him at that point.

Reporter: Does the U.S. have a strong position one way or another on the sort of modality for the next poll on the Secretary-General vote coming out this week?

Ambassador Bolton: We'll be discussing that among the Perm Five later today and an informal Council meeting tomorrow but I think we want to see how that next straw ballot comes out and decide how to go from there.

Reporter: What qualities does the ideal candidate have to have for the position in the mind of the U.S. and how would you describe the job description?

Ambassador Bolton: Well I think the charter tells us what the job description is. The Secretary General is the Chief Administrative Officer for the organization and we want somebody who will follow that job description. "Chief Administrative Officer." Chief Administrative Officer, which implies pretty clearly that the job of the Secretary-General is to administer the Secretariat. Now, obviously there are political and diplomatic skills as well that are involved, but look at what the charter says about what the SG is supposed to do. So that's the ideal candidate from our point of view.

Reporter: What's the status of the resolution on Myanmar?

Ambassador Bolton: Well, we're going to have a briefing this Friday afternoon by Under-Secretary-General Gambari, and we'll listen to that briefing and then decide where to go from there. That was the point we made when we got Burma inscribed on the agenda. We take it one step at a time, and that's really what we're doing. So with that I'll see you after it's over.

Released on September 26, 2006


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