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Bolton on the Somalia Report, Lebanon, HRC & Ors.

Briefing on the Somalia Report, Lebanon, the Human Rights Council 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
November 16, 2006

USUN PRESS RELEASE #334

Ambassador Bolton: Good morning.


Reporter: I'll start, if you don't mind, with the Somalia report. You perhaps had a chance to digest it. What sort of steps might the U.S., in terms of a leadership role, take to try to move ahead with that to implement the sanctions or to stop what's going on?

Ambassador Bolton: We're still studying exactly what to do on that, so I don't really have anything new for you on that.

Reporter: On Lebanon, the tribunal -- the SG's tribunal report, do you have any reaction on it? And when do you expect the Security Council to meet on that subject?

Ambassador Bolton: Well, we had previously conferred with the secretary-general among the Perm 5, so the substance of it was known, as it was to the non-permanent members. And now we've got the official agreement by the government of Lebanon, we want to move quickly to respond to the secretary-general to indicate the Security Council supports it. But we'll need to have a discussion, maybe have the legal adviser come down and brief the Security Council, possibly tomorrow. But I don't see any reason why we couldn't move ahead in the next day or two.

Reporter: The speaker of the parliament of Lebanon said the government is illegal, and also the president said so. How will that affect your work?

Ambassador Bolton: I don't anticipate that it will. The government has told us that they accept the draft, and we accept that.

Reporter: Mr. Ambassador, on the human rights votes in the Third Committee, how concerned is the United States about particularly the draft resolution that would take away condemnations of individual countries?

Ambassador Bolton: Well, you have to ask yourself, looking at the Human Rights Council in Geneva, for example, which meets for the third time today to pass a resolution on Israel, having found itself unable to -- in its busy schedule to deal with Burma or North Korea or the Sudan, how much legitimacy the council or these resolutions have to begin with.

So there's a real problem with the UN human rights machinery. We said there was a problem. It's the reason we opposed the establishment of this Human Rights Council. And nothing has happened since the creation of the council to change our view on it.

Reporter: Two questions, Ambassador. One is, given your initial objections to the council, would anything that you originally objected to have changed the way it's functioning now?

Ambassador Bolton: Certainly, because the membership quite likely would have been substantially different had the two-thirds rule been enacted; had we not shifted to General Assembly elections instead of ECOSOC election; had the exclusions that we wanted for gross abusers of human rights been included, and a number of other things as well. We said there were many, many deficiencies with the council. It's why we voted against it; it's why we remain convinced our vote was the right vote.

Second question.

Reporter: You say that you serve at the pleasure of the president. But about the pleasure of John Bolton? Do you like this job? Do you want to stay here?

Ambassador Bolton: You know, the way I've tried to answer this consistently -- and I hope I've been consistent -- is to point out that I learned from Secretary Powell that whenever you get asked a question like that there's only one answer and that is: I serve at the pleasure of the president.

Good-bye.

Released on November 16, 2006

ENDS


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