Briefing on the Straw Poll in the Security Council for the next Secretary-General
Ambassador John R. Bolton, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations
Remarks to the media following a Security Council Stakeout
New York City
October 2, 2006
USUN PRESS RELEASE #252
Ambassador Bolton: Well, as you know, our rules preclude discussion of the vote, but I can say that, upon the conclusion of the vote, that I urged that the Council move as soon as possible -- this week, hopefully -- to a formal vote. The decision, which we will confirm tomorrow morning when we adopt the monthly program, will be that the first and perhaps last formal vote, will be on the Monday the 9th in the morning. And we will then proceed to take a decision at that point.
Reporter: So there is a clear winner at this point in time?
Ambassador Bolton: As I say, I'm not going to comment on the outcome of the vote, but I think it was sufficiently clear that all members of the Council agreed we would move to the formal vote on Monday the 9th.
Reporter: Was there a veto cast by anybody?
Ambassador Bolton: Well, this was a straw poll, so in a technical sense, no -- no vetoes were cast.
Reporter: Were any colors that could mean veto used by any of the perm five on any candidates?
Ambassador Bolton: Yes, for sure.
Reporter: What are the qualities that the U.S., which is almost on record I think -- what are the qualities that the United States likes about Ban Ki-moon to be the secretary-general?
Ambassador Bolton: Well, I'm not going to comment on our vote. But as I've said to you before, we have a lot of respect for Foreign Minister Ban. We know him well from his service in Washington and here in New York, and think very highly of him professionally and personally.
Reporter: (Inaudible) candidate withdraw or there's a chance of him --
Ambassador Bolton: No, there were six candidates on the ballot, and Ambassador Dhanapala was the only one to have withdrawn from the last poll.
Reporter: Ambassador, was there a large gap between the first and second candidates?
Ambassador Bolton: Large enough.
Reporter: Mr. Ambassador, do you expect new candidates to come forward?
Ambassador Bolton: New candidates still have the option of coming forward. But we've been waiting for new candidates, and I don't know of any. There's no speculation of any. I'd be surprised if new candidates came forward. I think the feeling in the Council was one reason to delay the first formal vote for a few days would be to see if any current candidates decide to withdraw.
Reporter: Is there a time limit? Is there a cutoff date, after that you can't run?
Ambassador Bolton: No, there's -- we've never set a time limit, and that remains the case.
Reporter: Well, then, when would you like to see the General Assembly going forward with the new candidate so he can take as soon as possible, as you always wished? What are the dates, and why you would like to see the new candidate take over immediately almost? Explain a little bit more.
Ambassador Bolton: Yes. I think we've confined our work so far to the Security Council, but I'm sure we'll be in consultation with the president of the General Assembly in very short order. Obviously, there's some appropriate amount of time for the General Assembly to take, but I think there's very broad agreement within the organization that we should move promptly to a decision to give the new secretary-general ample time for a transition period.
Reporter: Is reform going to be, sir, at the top of your own agenda?
Ambassador Bolton: Absolutely.
Reporter: Will you be pressing what kind of reforms this time with the new candidates?
Ambassador Bolton: The reforms we haven't undertaken in the past year.
Reporter: What makes you think Ban Ki-moon is capable of making dramatic reforms to match what you've demanded here over the last few months?
Ambassador Bolton: Well, again, I'm not going to comment in response to artful questions like that about what the outcome of the vote is. But I --
Ambassador Bolton: I can -- I can say the United States is very pleased with the outcome of the vote.
Reporter: Ambassador, given that you have already said that you would have prefer a woman candidate, so would you still hold out hope that woman came up as a candidate?
Ambassador Bolton: It's never over until it's over, which is one reason why we wanted to move to a formal vote, because we should bring this decision-making process to a conclusion as soon as we can. We've agreed on Monday the 9th. As I say, we will confirm that tomorrow morning. And I expect a Security Council recommendation to the General Assembly, pursuant to the charter that day.
Okay. Thanks a lot.
Released on October 2, 2006