Remarks by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on Liberia and the 1737 Committee, at the Security Council Stakeout

Susan E. Rice
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations 
U.S. Mission to the United Nations 
New York, NY
September 9, 2009


Ambassador Rice: Good afternoon.

Speaking in my capacity as Security Council President, I'd like to report— The Security Council recently met and discussed Liberia and had a briefing from the Security Council 1737 Committee as well.

I'd also like to remind you all that we have an important meeting of the Council this afternoon at 4:00 [p.m.] when we will meet to discuss MINUSTAH and Haiti. The meeting will include the participation of some special guests, including former President Bill Clinton in his capacity as special envoy of the U.N. for Haiti and the Prime Minister of Haiti, Michele Pierre-Louis.

With respect to UNMIL, Ambassador Loj, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Liberia briefed the Council on UNMIL's activities since February. This was a regularly scheduled briefing, and as you know, UNMIL's mandate expires on September 30th.

Ambassador Loj shared the Secretary-General's recommendations for modifying the work of UNMIL, including having UNMIL assist the Liberian government with the 2011 presidential and legislative elections.

Ambassador Loj also outlined the latest Phase III draw down plan for UNMIL as recommended by the U.N.'s technical assistance mission that went to Liberia in April.

Council members expressed their strong support for the work of UNMIL and Ambassador Loj. The Council is currently negotiating the renewal of UNMIL's mandate, which we hope to be able to vote next week. Council members expressed support for mandating the recommendations made by the Secretary-General in his latest report.

With respect to the 1737 Committee, Ambassador Takasu, the chair of the committee, briefed the Council on the committee's activities over the prior 90 days. It was also a regularly scheduled briefing. Council members expressed strong support for the implementation of the relevant resolutions, including 1737, 1747 and 1803 and the work of the 1737 committee.

Finally, under other matters, we discussed the letter sent to me in my capacity as Council President from the permanent representative of the DPRK. The Council has decided to refer that September 3rd letter to the 1718 Committee for its review and any appropriate action.

I'd be happy to take your questions.

Reporter: Did you have discussions about Iran? And the (inaudible) proposals (inaudible).

Ambassador Rice: We just – as I mentioned, discussed Iran in the context of the 1737 Committee and the report of Ambassador Takasu. We did not discuss, in any substance, the proposals from Iran. None of us are aware of their contents.

Reporter: (Inaudible) Have you seen those proposals Ambassador?

Ambassador Rice: As the United States -- speaking for the United States-- and I think other Council members would agree, we hope and expect that what might be contained in those will be a serious and substantive -- let me rephrase that. We hope, I shouldn't say we expect, we hope that what is contained in that response is a serious, substantive and constructive response to the P-5 + 1 proposal. We will study the contents carefully. We'll consult with our P-5 +1 colleagues and we'll deliver a coordinated response at the appropriate time.

Reporter: (Inaudible) United Arab Emirates ship (inaudible) to Iran?

Ambassador Rice: No. Because it's not related to the 1737 Committee.

Reporter: (Inaudible) You can confirm that the Iranians actually have given some kind of proposition?

Ambassador Rice: It is my understanding that it has now been received.

Reporter: (Inaudible) United Arab Emirates do you have any information…

Ambassador Rice: Gentlemen, it's really hard to answer questions if I can't hear them.

Reporter: So concretely, what would it take for you to be able to talk with the Iranians?

Ambassador Rice: I'm not prepared to speculate without having any understanding of the contents.

Reporter: Ambassador, did the United Arab Emirates give you any information or did you request any information from them regarding that ship?

Ambassador Rice: We discussed a separate sanctions regime today, the 1737 regime and this issue did not arise.

Reporter: (Inaudible)

Ambassador Rice: I'm sorry.

Reporter: (Inaudible) Maliki, the Prime Minister of Iraq… (inaudible)

Ambassador Rice: And that has been circulated to Council members, but no Council member has requested any further action.

Reporter: On Liberia: was there any discussion and what does the U.S. think of the truth and reconciliation commission? They were saying that Ellen Johnson Sirleaf should not be involved in public life for 30 years for having supported Charles Taylor. What's the UN, what is the Council's position, and what is the U.S.'s position on that?

Ambassador Rice: Well, the Council didn't discuss that in depth. I think we all recognize that President Johnson Sirleaf is the legitimately elected president of Liberia. The Council expressed strong support, members did in the broadest terms of the government of Liberia's efforts to improve the security situation, strengthen the security sector, enhance the rule of law and implement its poverty reduction and development strategy.

The U.S. view is very much the same.

Reporter: And what about, one other thing on Liberia. There is this case where an American civilian employee of UNMIL (inaudible) was under investigation for child sexual abuse while employed by UNMIL -- (inaudible) -- is that something that, I guess, as the U.S. with your interest in peacekeeping, are you aware of that case? And what do you think the U.N. should do to make sure -- (inaudible) --

Ambassador Rice: Well, Ambassador Loj did refer to that in her briefing to the Council. Obviously, the U.S. is gravely concerned about any allegations of sexual violence or abuse. And we take them very seriously. We understand that the government of Liberia and UNMIL are currently investigating those allegations and we await their findings.

Reporter: Ambassador, even though the UAE issue didn’t come up, if it's found that Iran violated the North Korean sanctions what are the consequences? (Inaudible)… built into the argument?

Ambassador Rice: I don't want to speculate about facts that are not yet available. Suffice it to say that we will continue as the Council to support the work of the 1718 and 1874 committees, as well as the 1737 committees and we'll --

Reporter: Do you expect it to come up during your presidency?

Ambassador Rice: I wouldn't want to speculate on that.

Thank you very much. Thank you.


PRN: 2009/171