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Bolton Briefing - WFP, UNSC Election, Iran & Ors.

Briefing on the Appointment of the New Executive Director of the World Food Program, the Security Council Election for the Latin American Seat, 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


Ambassador Bolton: I just have a minute now. We may have to do a little bit more later. But I wanted to say how pleased the United States is that the secretary-general and the director-general of the FAO have announced the appointment of Josette Sheeran as executive director of the World Food Program today in Rome. She's obviously an extraordinarily well-qualified candidate, and look forward to her leadership of the World Food Program.

Reporter: Sir, anything on the Iran resolution?

Ambassador Bolton: My understanding is that the EU-3 will circulate the text of their draft this morning under other business, and we'll have another Perm 5 meeting this afternoon at -- I think it's at 3:15.

Reporter: Mr. Ambassador, Serge Brammertz is meeting the secretary- general. Can you update us about the status of the talks regarding the tribunal of an international character?

Ambassador Bolton: Well, I think the latest on that would come from the secretariat. We've got a number of changes we want, but we're very concerned to move quickly to set up the tribunal. We think that's very important to do as a political signal to help demonstrate the investigation continues to move forward. And I would hope we could consider that in the council just within the next few days, or certainly next week, if possible.

Reporter: Do you have any comment on the expected vote in the General Assembly that's going to see Panama joining the Council? What's the significance the U.S. will --

Ambassador Bolton: I think it's important to draw this to a conclusion. Obviously, we need to get ready for the new members to join the Council on January the 1st. As I've said before, we look forward to working with Panama. We're sure they'll play a constructive role. It's too bad that Guatemala was not able to. I think they would have played a constructive role as well.

But it has been our traditional posture not to intervene in the internal discussions of the regional groups, and our position on Guatemala and Venezuela was extraordinary because of the risk of disruption to the Council that we saw Venezuela bringing. That risk is now, apparently, removed, and so we'll, hopefully, ratify the decision on Panama and move ahead from there.

Reporter: Ambassador, a number of days have now passed since you received Russian-proposed amendments to the Iran resolution. In your -- what's your view of, you know, sort of what they represent and how difficult this is going to make it? And what sort of -- what's the next step? What can we expect the rest of the week, say?

Ambassador Bolton: As I said earlier, we're going to have a Perm 5 meeting this afternoon to discuss the Russian text and presumably the U.S. amendments as well. We don't think the Russian text is consistent with what foreign ministers had agreed previously, but we'll be discussing that this afternoon.

Reporter: On WFP, did the U.S. reach out to the incoming secretary- general, Ban Ki-Moon, in order to get his position on it?

Ambassador Bolton: My understanding is that the secretary-general consulted Ban Ki-Moon's office, and we certainly supported that and supported the decision to go ahead with Josette Sheeran's announcement. As I've said to you before, this is almost exactly what happened in late 1991, when Javier Perez de Cuellar and the then- director general of the FAO, whose name I'm blanking on at the moment -- but when they appointed Cathy Bertini to be the executive director of the World Food Program. Saouma -- Edward Saouma, the director general then of the --

Reporter: Ambassador, are you going to compromise -- reach a compromise between the Russian resolution and the EU-3 resolution on Iran? How are you going to work this out, sir?

Ambassador Bolton: Well, I don't know how we're going to work it out, because the Russian version is very different than what we think the foreign ministers agreed to. But we're going to discuss that this afternoon. I'll just take one more and then I've got to go.

Reporter: What about the Russian position on the tribunal? Is it as -- is it similar -- have they proposed as many amendments as on the Iran issue?

Ambassador Bolton: No, they didn't quite beat that record. But there are a lot of things that -- where they disagree with the position of the other permanent members. I think it's significant, for example, that China has no difficulty with the statute as it's now proposed.

Okay? So I'll talk to you a little bit --


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