Zalmay Khalilzad: Briefing on Sudan and Lebanon
Thursday, 31 May 2007, 1:40 pm
Press Release: US State Department
Briefing on Sudan and Lebanon
Amb. Zalmay Khalilzad, U.S. Permanent Representative to the UN
Remarks to the Media following a Security Council Stakeout
New York City
May 25, 2007
USUN PRESS RELEASE # 131(07)
Ambassador Khalilzad: I've been dealing with two issues today, issue one has been work on a statement, a president statement in light of the agreement between the United Nations and the African Union with regard to the hybrid force. The Secretary General has asked for a presidential statement and the experts continue to work on the preparation of that statement.
There was a second issue the council dealt with and that was we formally tabled the resolution helping the Lebanese in response to the legitimate request of Prime Minister Siniora to assist in the establishment of the tribunal based on the agreement between the United Nations and Lebanon. There was a good discussion of that draft resolution and the sponsors have met the aftermath of that discussion, will be having a meeting of the P5 later this afternoon and we believe that we are heading towards a vote on that resolution early next week. So, with that now I will be glad to take your questions in my national capacity.
Reporter: Lebanon resolution changed at all from the earlier draft, still at Chapter VII and everything?
Ambassador Khalilzad: Oh yeah, but we are working with our other sponsors and will be meeting with the P5 as we said. But, I have to say the discussion this morning was thoughtful, it was serious, from our perspective we emphasis the requirement of justice, political assassination is an important issues, the requirement of justice, regardless of what has happened in the past and there is also the issue of deterring such attacks in the future, and therefore it was very important in our view that we respond, to not only deal with past crimes but also to deter such future crimes. It is an important issue.
Reporter: (inaudible) problem with Ch VII and proposed a grace period, what do you think of this?
Ambassador Khalilzad: There were a number of colleagues besides the Russian colleague who mentioned that there concern with regard to Chapter VII. As you know the Prime Minister in his letter requesting assistance regarding the establishment of the tribunal asked for it to be binding and that is why the application of Chapter VII, operating under Chapter VII with regard to the those issues, that are appropriate to be implemented under Chapter VII is an important principal. There was an issue of timing there was a good discussion of the pros and cons of moving now versus later, our view, the view of the sponsors, that delaying the implementation has serious risks, one does not see any benefits in the delay because there is no indication, the Secretary-General has made his judgment, the Special Envoy has made his judgment, that if you have a few more days or a few months or a few weeks that the situation internally could be resolved. That is the judgment of Mr. Michel and of course the Secretary-General as well, the domestic option has been exhausted and the Lebanese need help to get this implementation going. There is also the option that some of have mentioned, get the resolution adopted but give people a few days for it to go into effect. Unless, let's say, by this day in May or June the domestic resolution has been found, that the tribunal is established or the step to start establishing it as in a resolution will come into effect. That is also an idea that is being discussed, the sunrise clause as some have said.
Reporter: When do you expect the resolution to be adopted on Tuesday, or Wednesday?
Ambassador Khalilzad: I would say, in that neighborhood is a fair assessment.
Reporter: …(inaudible) the grace period itself as a delay, to look at it or are you really open to it once you pass the resolution?
Ambassador Khalilzad: As I said the assistance that the Lebanese have asked for needs to be provided, and it has to be provided in a timely fashion. Delay is not going to be helpful to the situation. The Prime Minister of Lebanon has demonstrated courage to ask for this assistance, delay has its own risks but as I said this idea of a sunrise. Establish it, but give people a few days. I think that is one of the proposals that were made.
Reporter: Ambassador, another subject if you will, today the UN Special Rapporteur on promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms issued a report on the United States and his visit to the United States saying that the US has violated international law in its detention of detainees at Guantanamo and its use of military commissions in its renditioning and interrogation techniques, do you have any response to this position?
Ambassador Khalilzad: Yes, we have a very different point of view than the point of view of the gentleman you quoted and the institution you quoted.
Reporter: What's the point of view?
Ambassador Khalilzad: That we are doing this under US laws and procedures and legitimate decision making authorities that exist in the United States. We are a rule of law country and our decisions are based on rule of law.
Reporter: Mr. Ambassador, two questions, first the Russian Ambassador, on Lebanon, the Russian Ambassador argues that all security council resolution are legally binding so there is no necessity for Chapter VII, I wonder how you answer that? And also on the Presidential Statement on Sudan, what actually is the problem with the statement and do you expect this to be resolved and to have this statement approved today or early next week or when?
Ambassador Khalilzad: Well the importance with your second point of the Presidential Statement is not only to endorse the agreement that has been arrived at between the United Nations and the African Union but also to call on the government of Sudan to accept it in short order and two, to take note of other resolutions that have passed that calls on all parties to stop attacks on civilians, cooperate with humanitarian effort, cooperate in the political resolution of the issues, stop aerial bombings, attack on peacekeepers, using military aircraft and change your appearance to look like humanitarian or UN aircraft. So we would like to use the opportunity, along with quite a number of others, of this presidential statement that indicates international Security Council concern with regard to developments there besides calling on the Sudanese to respond favorably in terms of accepting and supporting this agreement. With regard to the first point…
Reporter: What's the problem and when do you expect to see it adopted?
Ambassador Khalilzad: The problem is that different people have different views, of course this is an intergovernmental institution, of what to emphasize, what not to emphasize. The experts are working on it, we will see what happens, whether we can reach an agreement today or it will go into next week. With regard to the first one, Ambassador Churkin has made that point in the Council as well. The issue is political assassination and the Hariri case that the Council has dealt with in the past has been dealt with as a threat to international peace and security. And therefore there is the need for with regard to appropriate articles a need for a reference to specifically Chapter VII. That is the issue. Thank you very much.
Released on May 25, 2007