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John R. Bolton Briefing on Sudan and North Korea

Briefing on Sudan and North Korea

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 5, 2006

Ambassador Bolton: Good morning. I just wanted to introduce the reason why we've asked for this emergency consultation.

A number of delegations have received letters from the Mission of Sudan here -- to my knowledge the United States did not receive such a letter, but one of our friends gave us a copy of it -- that was circulated within the past day or two. We just got this late yesterday. But the message from the government of Sudan is sent to potential troop contributing countries for the UN Mission in Darfur, and the letter says in part that the government wants to reiterate its unequivocal position pertaining to Resolution 1706 and its total rejection of that resolution for the various reasons repeatedly reiterated by Sudan.

And then this in particular, where it says -- the Sudan government says, in the absence of Sudan's consent to the deployment of UN troops, "any volunteering to provide peacekeeping troops to Darfur will be considered as a hostile act, a prelude to an invasion of a member country of the UN" Close quote from the Sudanese letter.

Now, this is, to my knowledge -- not just my experience here as Ambassador, but in my study of the UN over the years, this is an unprecedented assertion by a government that's about to be the beneficiary of an extended UN peacekeeping mission -- attempting to intimidate potential troop-contributing countries and to assert that a humanitarian mission to prevent genocide in Darfur is a prelude to an invasion of the country.

So this is a direct challenge to the authority of the Security Council in its efforts to alleviate the tragedy in Darfur, and clearly requires a strong response by the Security Council. We will be circulating later today a draft presidential statement for consideration, but we felt that it was important to bring this to the attention of the council this morning, even in the absence of a previously scheduled meeting, which is why we asked for this.

Yes, sir.

Reporter: Mr. Ambassador, two days ago you were here saying, on the North Korea issue, that the Council shouldn't just be issuing statements for the sake of issuing statements. How is this different? And is there a larger strategy that you want the council to have on this, on Sudan?

Ambassador Bolton: Absolutely. Yeah, the larger strategy is the full implementation of Resolution 1706, which has been in the planning stages for months and months. It's a continuation of the Darfur peace agreement implementation, which envisages a major role for the UN forces, and which the government of Sudan has been consistently blocking -- despite its agreement to the Darfur peace agreement and to previous African Union decisions to accept the handover of the African Union force in Darfur to the UN. This is part of a conduct of obstructionism by the government of Sudan that we have to overcome. But this particular letter from the Sudanese government, I repeat, is unprecedented. If any of you ladies and gentlemen can find anything like this in your extensive experience here at the UN, I'd like to see it. And if this is allowed to stand unchallenged, it could well mean the complete failure of the UNMIS extension to Sudan even before it begins.

Reporter: Mr. Ambassador, the Sudanese mission is saying that this --that part of it, the part about a hostile, is also a reiteration of previous positions. Is that true, or is this something you've seen for the first time? Or is it the fact that it's gone to the troop-contributing countries that really is the sort of --

Ambassador Bolton: I think they're trying to intimidate troop-contributing countries. Obviously, if no one volunteers to contribute forces to the Darfur mission, there won't be one no matter what the Security Council does. And that's why this is such a direct challenge to the council's resolution.

Reporter: Ambassador, do you know how wide this letter was sent around? Is it everyone who was at the September 25th meeting?

Ambassador Bolton: I don't know the answer. That's one question I will ask this morning. As I say, we didn't get a letter.


Reporter: Ambassador, you're searching for broader strategies to deal with these countries that are resisting Security --

Ambassador Bolton: Glad everybody has picked up this theme. This is very important. I'm glad I've made a contribution in that regard.

Reporter: We listen very carefully to your every word, Ambassador. But in seeking broader strategies in North Korea and for Sudan, that are resisting council action, what are your options?

Ambassador Bolton: Well, I think the question before us is whether the council can be effective. I think it's -- we are certainly looking at a variety of steps, but the real issue, the fundamental issue, is whether the council can work effectively in these areas or not, and that's something we need to know. It --

Reporter: Well, what can you besides issue a statement or do a resolution that can't be --

Ambassador Bolton: There are a number of steps we could take, some of which we're considering, that the charter provides for. In the case of Sudan, we've issued sanctions resolutions against individuals, and there are other steps we can consider as well. Yeah.

Reporter: That's why I'd love to hear about what the other steps would be. And more broadly, we had a speech or a talk by Mr. Guehenno yesterday, who suggested that when it came to direct enforcement, this was not something that the UN could do. Are we beginning to reach a stage where enforcement of some form is necessary, and that perhaps countries who want to see that happen need to go outside the UN to see that happen?

Ambassador Bolton: Well, as I said a moment ago, the question in many respects is whether the council or the organization can function effectively. And if it can't, then I think those who are concerned about, for example, the tragedy in Darfur have to ask whether other possibilities are going to have to be pursued. And that seems to me to be a question that members of the Security Council in particular should take with great seriousness because the -- in this case the Sudanese letter is a direct challenge to the council's ability to see its resolutions enforced.

Reporter: Mr. Ambassador --

Ambassador Bolton: Last question.

Reporter: not on Sudan, but timely -- I work for a 24-hour network; we've got no time for broad strategies. Statements on North Korea. Do you want it? You don't want it? Is it tough enough? And on Iran, the British have said there are going to be resolution consultations next week. Can you update on U.S. plans on Iran?

Ambassador Bolton: The discussions on the Korea presidential statement are ongoing. We've made clear we think what needs to be in the statement. Whether we will get that or not we'll see later today. And in terms of Iran, we're still waiting here for instructions. So --

Reporter: The Japanese government is now saying they would like a press -- they would be willing to consider a press statement on North Korea. Is that something --

Ambassador Bolton: Well, then I think we have to consider what it means when the best we can do is a press statement. So -- I'll be back afterwards, okay?

Reporter: Are you going to speak about Andrew Natsios after? Because he's meeting with the secretary-general this morning. Is he also going to be meeting with the Sudanese ambassador later?

Ambassador Bolton: I don't think so.

Mr. Grenell: He'll be around --

Reporter: And is his itinerary --

Ambassador Bolton: I don't do his itinerary.

Released on October 5, 2006


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