Remarks by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on Nuclear Nonproliferation and Nuclear Disarmament, and other matters, 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 24, 2009


Ambassador Rice: Thank you. Good morning, everyone.

As you know, we just completed an historic summit-level meeting of the United Nations Security Council, in which 15 heads of state and government unanimously adopted a groundbreaking resolution which affirmed their commitment to the goal of a world without nuclear weapons, and established a broad framework for ensuring nuclear safety and security. It will strengthen the global nonproliferation regime. It affirms the essential right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy. It embraced President Obama's goal of securing loose nuclear materials within four years, as well as the larger agenda he laid out earlier this year in Prague. And it advances our shared efforts to promote international peace and security.

So we are very pleased at the outcome today. We view it as building important momentum going into next year's Nonproliferation Review Conference, going into the president's own Nuclear Security Summit next year. And of course, we had Secretary Clinton as well here today speaking before the CTBT session, underscoring our commitment to ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

So with that, I'm happy to take a couple of brief questions before I head back to more meetings.

Reporter: Ms. Rice, what about Sarkozy saying basically this is all well and fine, but we are living in the real world, and let's deal with Iran and North Korea?

Ambassador Rice: Well, in the real world we have the threat of loose nuclear materials. We have the challenge of nonproliferation, including those related to specific countries. And the resolution that we adopted today made that very plain.

We also have the larger challenges of upholding our obligations under the NPT and working towards a world with (sic) nuclear weapons. And today's session underscored the importance of all of those goals, and I think many leaders around the table, certainly including President Obama, have on many occasions, including today, expressed our concerns about the challenges to the nuclear nonproliferation regime posed by Iran and North Korea. Those are obvious, and were plainly on the table today. But the purpose here was larger, and we think the resolution that was passed here today will strengthen the foundation for effective cooperative action to uphold the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty.

Reporter: Does what happened today give you any specific tools towards Iran and North Korea that you didn't have before?

Ambassador Rice: This is not a resolution that is focused, as you know, specifically on Iran or North Korea. It doesn't impose new sanctions.

What it does do, however, is create additional deterrents for withdrawal from the NPT. It strengthens the safeguards regime. It puts in place new normative requirements to strengthen national export-control regimes and ensure that they are supportive of our larger nonproliferation objectives. So in a number of ways, which we have detailed in a fact sheet that we've just released, we have advanced our framework for preventing proliferation, for securing loose nuclear materials, and for putting us on a firmer path towards effective disarmament.

Reporter: Has the council received any requests for a meeting on Honduras? And does the U.S. think that the U.N. can do anything about the situation in Honduras?

Ambassador Rice: The -- as president of the Security Council, I did receive a letter from Brazil requesting that the Security Council consider the situation in Honduras. We have circulated that letter to other members of the council, and the council may take that subject up in consultations in some days' time.

Last question.

Reporter: Was the U.S. happy to see that Qadhafi was not at the meeting, or not so because it didn't show that much support from the Libyans in regards to this --

Ambassador Rice: We were very happy to see Libya support this resolution.

Thank you.


PRN: 2009/187