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Bolton: Fiji, Lebanon, Iran and Other Matters

Briefing on Fiji, Lebanon, Iran 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 29, 2006


Ambassador Bolton: Let me just start off by saying that we've had a very good discussion in the consultations on the situation in Fiji. And you know, we talk a lot about preventative diplomacy in the Security Council. I think we're going to be issuing a statement shortly, drafted by the United States and others, urging that the military in Fiji not conduct an unconstitutional coup.

The government of New Zealand has been very active in trying to bring the Fijian parties together, and I believe we've reached agreement on a press statement that the Peruvian president will read shortly. This is trying to get ahead of the situation in Fiji. So I'm very pleased at that this morning.

And with that I'd be happy to answer any questions.

Reporter: On Somalia, can you give us your reaction to the Qatari resolution and tell us how that jibes with the resolution that the United States is working on?

Ambassador Bolton: The extension of the monitoring group is a technical rollover. I don't expect any controversy in that, and that's really unrelated in a sense. It's obviously dealing with the situation in Somalia, but unrelated to the draft resolution that we've been discussing. And we're still in consultation on that.

Reporter: Ambassador, could you just give us an update on what's holding up the discussions on Somalia? I understand there's some European amendments. Are you -- do you have problems with those?

Ambassador Bolton: Well, as I've said now for about three days in a row, I'd rather not get into the discussions. Consultations are continuing. We're moving as rapidly as we can.

Reporter: On Iran, Ambassador. Two questions on Iran.

First of all, the letter by President Ahmadinejad in which he says, basically, the first thing to be done in Iraq for the United States is to get out and they'll help you out with it.

And secondly, the reports that the draft resolution on Iran has been emptied out totally of any reference to sanctions.

Ambassador Bolton: Well, let me -- let me just say on the sanctions resolution, we've had no activity on that in New York for some time. So I don't really have anything to say on that.

With respect to President Ahmadinejad's letter, which I understand from press reports is addressed to the American people, this American person hasn't seen it yet. And I know you in the press have it, so maybe that's who he's really addressing the letter to. But I won't comment on it till I see it -- although I understand it's only five pages and not 18 pages like the last one, so that's a step ahead.

Reporter: I wouldn't usually ask you to comment on a newspaper report, but I will this time. Al Mustaqbal newspaper in Lebanon is saying that the Lebanese security forces has exposed a network which planned to assassinate 36 senior Lebanese officials. Is there any confirmation that you have of such, and what -- any comment have you?

Ambassador Bolton: I don't have any confirmation on it, although I will say that our colleagues in Beirut were told at the time of the assassination of Pierre Gemayel that many senior Lebanese leaders, particularly from the March 14 movement, feared that an additional wave of assassination attempts might be made. And that's been very much on our mind because of the risk that the number of ministers in the Cabinet would fall below the constitutional requirement.

So I think, as I say, I don't have anything factually to add to that report, but it would be consistent with the concerns raised by a number of Lebanese leaders within the past few weeks.

Reporter: I know you haven't seen the letter, but President Bush and other world leaders do often speak directly to the people of another country. Do you -- would you have a problem with any type of letter from the Iranian leader appealing to the American people? He talks about the election results and warns the Democrats that -- in effect, that you will also have to be responsible. You will be judged now if you don't follow through on your --

Ambassador Bolton: Tempted though I am, I'd rather not comment on a letter that I haven't read, except as I said before you got here, Richard -- I did say before you got here that I was -- I noticed this letter was only five pages long instead of -- Oh, you did hear that. So you don't want me to repeat it, presumably.

Reporter: I was hoping you might elaborate on --

Ambassador Bolton: No, but if you'll give me a copy of the letter I'd be happy to read it as some point.

Reporter: Here it is! Here it is!

Ambassador Bolton: Not right now, however.

Reporter: It's only five pages, as you said. You're an attourney.

Ambassador Bolton: I'll take your copy with me, or you could give a dramatic reading of the letter on TV and --

Reporter: "Almighty God, bestow" -- all right.

Ambassador Bolton: Okay. Yeah?

Reporter: Do you have any update on the -- where the status of the North Korea Sanctions Committee stands? I understand some countries are supposed put forward lists of designated individuals and entities to be targeted for sanctions.

Ambassador Bolton: There is a -- there are a variety of reports that have come in. Not all of them have come in. I'd rather wait until we've get a -- got a more complete, comprehensive picture on the reporting, and then I'd be happy to talk about it.

Reporter: Mr. Ambassador, when are we going to see your Burma resolution?

Ambassador Bolton: Pardon me?

Reporter: When are we going to see your Burma resolution?

Ambassador Bolton: Consultations continue on the Burma resolution.

Reporter: On Iran again. You did not deny that the draft has been emptied of the sanctions --

Ambassador Bolton: I didn't comment on it one way or the other. I simply said that I wouldn't draw any inference from my comment -- from my non-comment on it.

Reporter: But still, Ambassador --

Ambassador Bolton: I'm simply saying that there's been no action on it in New York here for quite some time.

Reporter: But there are reports saying that there's been changes. And so can you at least give us a little bit of substance on this? Are you saying they're incorrect, these reports?

Ambassador Bolton: Actually, as I said a moment ago, I'd rather not comment on them.

Reporter: But what do you make of the fact that there has been no movement on it here in New York? Is that bad?

Ambassador Bolton: That's because political directors have been discussing it. It's really -- it's in the hands of the political directors and has been since our fifth meeting of the Perm Five plus Germany up here some several days ago.

Reporter: But it's been a while and there's still no movement --

Ambassador Bolton: Consult capitals.

Reporter: Does that mean that the main powers are not unified on Iran?

Ambassador Bolton: You'd have to ask the political directors that.

Reporter: Ambassador, on Darfur, the whole prospect of a hybrid force seems to be running into the sand again. There have been suggestions from, you know, Washington and other parties that if this doesn't work we need to look for other options. Are we in the other options phase yet? Are there alternatives? Ambassador Bolton: I'm a 1706 person myself. Okay, anything else? All right. See you later.

Released on November 29, 2006


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