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Bolton Briefing Iran, North Korea, Liberia & UNSC

Briefing on Iran, North Korea, Liberia, the Latin American Seat for the Security Council, and Other Matters

Ambassador John R. Bolton , U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations
Remarks Outside the General Assembly
New York City
October 20, 2006

USUN PRESS RELEASE #299


Ambassador Bolton: I don't have anything to start off with.

Reporter: On Iran, was there a P 5? (Inaudible)

Ambassador Bolton: I don't know that there'll be one today, but we're still working on it.

Reporter: On the report on 1559, is there -- do you think it's a satisfactory report as far as calling for the disarmament of Hezbollah? What's the U.S. position on that?

Ambassador Bolton: I haven't read it yet, so I don't have a comment on it.

Reporter: Regarding North Korea, on a report that Kim Jong Il himself has told Chinese officials that he will stop testing if these financial sanctions are lifted.

Ambassador Bolton: You know, that is the same position he's tried before that tries to make it look like the United States is part of the problem because we're going after his counterfeiting our currency, and using illicit financial channels to support his programs in weapons of mass destruction. So I didn't see that as being anything new in particular. I'm sure we'll get a fuller readout from China in due course, perhaps before the secretary leaves.

Reporter: Ambassador, the Council's looking at diamond sanctions on Liberia this morning. Do you have any sense whether they might be lifted at this time or whether they're still going to stay in place?

Ambassador Bolton: I think at this point we still need some additional steps by the government of Liberia, but we're certainly pleased with the way the performance has been under the lifting of the timber sanctions, and which is what we're here -- it's basically a three- month review. So we'll consider on the diamond question in the next few months to see what -- what steps we might take.

Reporter: Ambassador, North Korea, there seems to be sort of a slowdown in getting things going because of the issue about the chairmanship of the Sanctions Committee. What's your feeling about Slovakia? Should they take it or are there concerns about their --

Ambassador Bolton: I think that's pretty well resolved. The resolution, in many respects, is self-executing. It calls on member states to do things. You don't need the Sanctions Committee to tell you what to do.

Reporter: The commander of UNIFIL, Mr. Pellegrini, said yesterday that they might change the mandate of UNIFIL in order to respond to the air violations by Israel. Do you agree with that?

Ambassador Bolton: My understanding is the U.N. effectively reversed that comment.

Reporter: What's your sense on Iran -- that you've had a unanimous vote on North Korea? What is the dynamic between the U.S., Russia and China moving now, once again, on Iran -- on a resolution?

Ambassador Bolton: Well, we haven't really spoken on that point because we've been working on other aspects of the test -- the text. But Secretary Rice was in Beijing, will be going to Moscow tomorrow. I'm sure they're going to have conversations on it.

Reporter: Mr. Ambassador, yesterday Ambassador Gillerman said that he had news that there was an alleged $50 million paid to Hamas to prevent the exchange of the Israeli soldier. Does the U.S. have similar information, and what's the U.S. position on this?

Ambassador Bolton: Well, I wouldn't at this point comment on it one way or the other if we did. I certainly took note of what Ambassador Gillerman said, but I have not really been in a position to pursue that since I've been worried about the race for the Security Council seat from the Western Hemisphere.

Reporter: Regarding that, does the U.S. see it as an exercise in some sort of democracy to allow this vote to play out -- this is the case that's being made by certain diplomats -- or is it a waste of time?

Ambassador Bolton: I think it's Venezuelan obstructionism. And I think that's what everybody sees. I think the overwhelming sentiment is that it's clear Venezuela is not going to prevail in this race. And there's frustration that they haven't -- the Venezuelans have also seen that and withdrawn. The group of Latin American and Caribbean countries can still come up with a consensus. I think Guatemala's got a very strong case. We're still supporting them and we'll see what happens.

Reporter: Does the delay on the Iran text have anything to do with differences between the U.S. and Europeans about how to draft and how to anticipate the objections –

Ambassador Bolton: We're still in discussions on it. Look, it's been -- we've been on this for four years. A few days here or there isn't going to make any difference.

Reporter: Ambassador, has America taken a position on the Arms Trade Treaty vote due next week? Have you decided whether to support the British proposal or not?

Ambassador Bolton: I don't have anything new to add on that from what we've said before because I just haven't been focused on it, to be completely candid about it.

Okay, see you later.

Released on October 20, 2006

ENDS


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