Remarks by Ambassador Alejandro Wolff, U.S. Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on the Middle East, at the Security Council Stakeout

Alejandro Wolff
Deputy Permanent Representative 
U.S. Mission to the United Nations 
New York, NY
October 7, 2009




FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Ambassador Wolff: Good Afternoon, I’m happy to take any questions. As you know, we just had a consultation of the Council where we agreed to advance the date of the monthly meeting on the Middle East from the 20th of October to the 14th of October.

Reporter: There were reports that President Obama and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton exerted pressures personally on President Abbas to postpone this discussion. Is that accurate?

Ambassador Wolff: What I can tell you is what is well known. That is that the co-sponsors of the resolution in Geneva, the Organization of Islamic Conferences, the Arab Group, the African Group, the Non-Aligned Movement, together asked the President of the Human Rights Council to postpone consideration of the draft resolution they were working on until March to give more time to work on this issue. That was what prompted the decision in Geneva?

Reporter: Were there any Americans involved in those discussions?

Ambassador Wolff: We have discussions all the time. We are negotiating of course on content and on process and the best way forward, bearing in mind also what’s best for the peace process.

Reporter: (inaudible)

Ambassador Wolff: Well that’s an excellent idea, maybe we should have a good mandate; we have a flawed mandate for the Goldstone report. We have conclusions that we and others take issue with; there are lots of questions about this. But the point is that the right venue to discuss that is in Geneva in the Human Rights Council. The Human Rights Council at request of the co-sponsors the OIC, the Arab Group, the African Group the Non-Aligned Movement requested that this be postponed to the next session in March, that’s the appropriate place for this tp be discussed.

Reporter: Does the United States consider the matter closed? Or is the Security Council (inaudible)?

Ambassador Wolff: This issue is not before the Security Council. We have advanced the monthly debate on the Middle East from October 20th to October 14th.

Reporter: What do you think about the Sudanese Ambassador’s statement, as chair of the Arab Group, that they want to operationalize the Goldstone Report, that is, in other words, implement the recommendations, including to the one pertaining to referral to the International Criminal Court?

Ambassador Wolff: I think the Sudanese Ambassador has plenty of ways to demonstrate respect for the International Criminal Court with his own country.

Reporter: (inaudible) do you support that?

Ambassador Wolff: That’s one of the conclusions I believe that he cited from the Goldstone report. The report needs to be discussed by the Human Rights Council. And decisions on what next steps and what is the appropriate disposition of this report are decisions that will be taken in Geneva.

Reporter: Goldstone said that he had the mandate changed (inaudible)

Ambassador Wolff: It is a flawed mandate, and all you have to do is read it to see that is one-sided. The mandate itself is a flawed one-sided unacceptable mandate.

Reporter: (inaudible) peace process?

Ambassador Wolff: Well of course that’s the first priority that we have. We’ve heard a description of the situation on the ground; the reality is that the situation will not improve for any of the parties – Israelis, Palestinians or others – until we have peace. And for that you need reconciliation among the Palestinians, you need a peace process that’s under way, and you don’t need polemics and you don’t need politics to interfere with that.

Reporter: What is so wrong with bringing the issue to the Security Council in as far as (inaudible)?

Ambassador Wolff: The issue of the Middle East is before the Security Council and as I said we meet monthly on it. We will have this meeting now advanced from the 20th to the 14th to deal with all aspects of the Middle East. All delegations are free, as they always are each month, to raise whatever issue they think are pertinent to that issue. On the question of the Goldstone report, that is a report mandated by the Human Rights Council, a new body that needs to be allowed to do its work. The groups that I mentioned, the very sponsors of this resolution, asked that that resolution be deferred until March, until the next session. We are respecting the views of the competent body in the international organizational structure that is the United Nations, the Human Rights Council, to do its work.

Thank you very much.

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PRN: 2009/203