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Amb. Bolton on UNSC Latin American Seat Selection

Briefing on the Selection of the Latin American Seat for the United Nations Security Council

Ambassador John R. Bolton, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations
Remarks outside the General Assembly
New York City
October 17, 2006


Ambassador Bolton: Well, six more votes, six more defeats for Venezuela; still a clear preponderance. We've essentially been in a steady state since yesterday afternoon. Normally what happens in these circumstances is the country that's so far behind withdraws. We'll see whether that's what happens here. But this is only 16 ballots. The record is 154. We're prepared to continue.

Reporter: Ambassador Bolton, Venezuela's ambassador just a short time ago in fact suggested that Venezuela could withdraw if either you or President Bush came to the stakeout here and took back or vowed to stop what he called the "extortion" and the efforts of coercion to get Venezuela defeated here. Would you be willing to do that in -- hopefully Venezuela withdraw?

Ambassador Bolton: Look, look, we have made our position in a very low-key way. It's motivated by our concern for Venezuela's behavior. That's another example of it. And so I don't intend to respond to it any further than that.

Reporter: But will America allow -- that's what he wants, basically, that America will allow people to vote the way they want to vote.

Ambassador Bolton: That's all that we have ever asked people to do. We have given the reasons why we think Venezuela's candidacy is problematic and why Guatemala's candidacy has a lot of merit to it. And countries are making up their own minds, at least as far as we're concerned.

Reporter: Do you detect any growing movement or any growing willingness to consider asking Venezuela and/or Guatemala to withdraw in favor of a consensus candidate?

Ambassador Bolton: There's a lot of chit-chat, and it's all obviously inconclusive at this point. There are only two candidates in the race, and the voting's going to continue, as far as I can tell.

Reporter: If the GRULAC group put forward another candidate, would the United States support that candidate?

Ambassador Bolton: Well, that's a hypothetical. You know, the other regions, with one other exception, did agree on their candidates. That's the typical pattern. That hasn't happened here. And that's the reason we're in the circumstance we're in.

Reporter: Mr. Ambassador, do you see a repeat of 1979? Are we heading to that direction, or do you see that maybe we can get to a concessions and solve the situation?

Ambassador Bolton: Well, we're only 16 ballots in. This is still only the third longest election. I think the second longest election was 23 ballots. Maybe we'll make that by this afternoon. But there are two candidates, and the obligation, it seems to me, is to vote for one of the two candidates, which is what we're doing.

Reporter: Ambassador, what do you think of the distribution of the El País article showing you and Ambassador Rosenthal sort of huddled together as a campaigning mechanism here?

Ambassador Bolton: You know, I thought the picture of me was very unflattering. Are there any other questions? Have a nice lunch.

Released on October 17, 2006


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