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Bolton on the Pierre Gemayel Assassination

Briefing on the Assassination of Lebanese Cabinet Minister Pierre Gemayel

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 21, 2006


Ambassador Bolton: I don't have anything to begin with. Obviously, we hope for -- having said that, now I'll begin with something. We hope for a presidential statement on the Gemayel assassination, and obviously hope for agreement on the establishment of the Hariri tribunal. And we'll discuss both, I'm sure, in the next few minutes.

Reporter: Have you seen the draft of the former?

Ambassador Bolton: The presidential statement's an excellent draft, yeah. We support it without change.

Reporter: About the letter to the secretary-general, is that finalized? Are you still changing the letter? Because we were told --

Ambassador Bolton: Well, it's 3:30 and nobody's broken silence yet. We'll have to see. But I think we'll discuss it in there.

Reporter: But we were told before that there were some changes in the language of the letter itself, including a reference to the Lebanese constitution.

Ambassador Bolton: Well, changes in what was circulated yesterday from an earlier draft, but no changes today so far.

Reporter: Is there going to be any sort of language to add this assassination to the list to make it 15? I know it's early, but ---

Ambassador Bolton: Well, I think we would need another resolution to do that. Our intention today is to get the letter resolved, get the tribunal set up, condemn the assassination of Gemayel, and then I think deal with the jurisdictional question later.

Reporter: Is it fair to say that the United States would support adding this?

Ambassador Bolton: Absolutely. Oh, absolutely. No question about it.

Reporter: Have you been in touch with Mr. Siniora about this?

Ambassador Bolton: Secretary Rice has spoken with Prime Minister Siniora this morning, I think, before departing from Hawaii. And she conveyed to him the message that the United States will do all that it can to support the democratically elected government of Lebanon.

Reporter: What do you think of this whole linkage to the constitution, which apparently links to the president, whose term was extended in violation of the constitution?

Ambassador Bolton: As I've said yesterday, the interpretation of the Lebanese constitution is a matter for the government of Lebanon, and they will tell us whether they've complied with it in whatever their manner of deciding is. It's really not for the Security Council or the -- certainly not the Secretariat to second-guess that. And I'm not going to become a student of the Lebanese constitution, or anybody else's constitution, in order to accomplish what the Security Council needs to accomplish, just as don't expect them to become expert in the American Constitution.

Reporter: Mr. Ambassador, on another subject, what's the status of the P-5 plus one talks on Iran?

Ambassador Bolton: Well, we're still looking at the views we exchanged in earlier meetings, and we don't have any meetings scheduled here in -- before Thanksgiving here in New York. One -- anything else? One more.

Reporter: (Inaudible) would you consider sending troops there?

Ambassador Bolton: I don't want to get into that. We want the democratically elected government of Lebanon to be sustained. And I noticed that Amin Gemayel, even in the midst of what must be a terrible day for him, has called on the people of Lebanon to remain calm. And I think that's sound advice.

Okay, thank you.

Released on November 21, 2006


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