FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ambassador Rice: Good morning. I want to say a few words today about the unanimous adoption by the Security Council of Resolution 1904.
It's a very important resolution because it reaffirms the global consensus against al Qaeda and the Taliban; it strengthens implementation of these critical sanctions; and improves the fairness and transparency of the regime. 1904 renews the Council's commitment to maintain this vital, multilateral tool for suppression of financing, travel and arms acquisition by al Qaeda and the Taliban.
Today's unanimous vote is a real success for the common efforts of the United States, of Austria, which chaired the committee, and all Council members who worked over many months on what is a very complex and difficult issue, and came together with remarkable ease to pass this resolution and reinvigorate the global coalition against the threat from al Qaeda and the Taliban, which, as we all know, remains as serious today as it was when the regime was first enacted.
The new resolution will facilitate active participation and ownership by member states in sanctions listing and delisting, as well as member states' implementation and enforcement of these sanctions. It reflects a firm commitment of the international community to reject terrorism, deny terrorists access to the international financial system, and prevent their travel and acquisition of arms.
With these improvements, the 1267 regime is even stronger. These reforms will help rejuvenate it and encourage states to make better use of this important tool. We believe these measures can and should be used to greater effect, globally, against terrorists and their supporters, and, in particular, against those hindering peace and stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
We urge member states to make every effort to use these sanctions to deter nefarious activities of listed individuals and organizations, their facilitators and supporters.
I'm happy to take a few of your questions.
Reporter: I think the, sort of, basic problem that the Europeans are having with this is they felt like there wasn't really a legal recourse for people who are listed, and that's why a lot of them felt like they couldn't enforce it. And it's unclear to me how an ombudsman is going to address that problem.
Ambassador Rice: Well, I think our colleagues from Europe on the Council have worked actively to address concerns that have been expressed by some European courts.
We think this ombudsman is a very important step because it will ensure that the information and the data -- that those who seek delisting may be able to provide, are understood by the committee, assessed by the committee, and that the committee's transparent and fair assessment is communicated back to those individuals.
The whole purpose here is to make the 1267 regime and the list a living process, by which I mean two things: living, in the sense that we're sure that all those who are on the lists are, in fact, in this world and not dead; and secondly, that it's living in the sense that it is refreshed and renewed with additional listings, when appropriate, and delistings when individuals no longer merit being on that list. And this is an important step forward that we think addresses many of the concerns that have expressed, including in Europe.
Reporter: Ambassador, on another subject, if you will, a couple of days ago you received a letter from 26 U.S. senators calling for more aggressive U.S. leadership in the Security Council on the subject of Sudan. What specific actions do you plan to take in response to that letter, within the Security Council context?
Ambassador Rice: Well, I think the United States and this administration is very, been very active and outspoken -- I've been accused of that myself, on the subject of Sudan and we're going to continue to be, in insisting that the comprehensive peace agreement be fully implemented; that sanctions be enforced, as I spoke of the other day; and that the situation in Darfur, which is fragile and deteriorating, gets the attention that it deserves.
We have unveiled, and we are implementing, a comprehensive new policy to deal with both the North-South conflict, as well as the killing and the genocide in Darfur. And we're committed to using this body, our national means, and cooperation with other partners in the region and beyond outside of the Council, to achieve those goals.
Reporter: Ambassador Rice, with regard to the situation in the Middle East, some Security Council members are accusing the United States and the U.N. by adopting unbalanced policy regarding the situation in the Middle East and the visa process. How do you -- (inaudible) -- to that?
Ambassador Rice: Well, as I said in the Council, I think the Council has been very responsible and balanced in its efforts to promote a two-state solution that will benefit the people of Palestine and the people of Israel.
And what we saw today in the Council I thought was rather unfortunate. It was more in the vein of grandstanding and the dramatic flourish, rather than a responsible and sober treatment of what is a very difficult issue, and one which the Council has, as a practical matter, worked cooperatively on over the course of this past year.
I am hopeful that that cooperation and that responsible approach will continue, and that's why I said what I said today.
Thank you all very much.
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