Remarks by Ambassador Alejandro Wolff, Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, at a Security Council Stakeout

Alejandro Wolff
Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations 
U.S. Mission to the United Nations 
New York, NY
June 1, 2010


Amb. Wolff: Good morning thanks for staying as long, a good 13 hours, happy June. …we adopted a presidential statement today on the incident that took place on the Eastern Mediterranean yesterday . The negotiations over that took place after the meeting that the Council had where most of the members spoke. We’ve had a long drawn out discussion and the fruits of our labors are before you. So I’m happy to take any questions.

Reporter: You just heard what the President of the Council said, he said a number of things. He said that the investig—he believes that the word impartial means independent, ie, not by Israel in terms of the investigation. And he believes that condemning the acts that resulted in deaths is a condemnation of the Israeli military force primarily.  Is that your understanding of the text that was adopted?

Amb. Wolff: No that’s not our understanding. If you read the text carefully, it makes clear what it means and what it doesn’t mean. We are convinced and support an Israeli investigation as I called for in my statement earlier and have every confidence that Israel can conduct a credible and impartial, transparent, prompt investigation internally.

Reporter: You just said because the text refers to the Secretary-General’s comments, that this means the Secretary-General will be appointing the investigators.

Amb. Wolff: Again I think there’s no reason to conclude that.  The Secretary-General called for a full investigation. And we think the Israelis are capable of doing a full investigation.

Reporter: Do you believe that the war in Israel should have been mentioned in the first part of this text, so far as the use of force?

Amb. Wolff: Well it’s important—the important thing to bear in mind is this is an incident that is still being investigated. There’s a lot of questions about it. Its origins, the intentions, the contacts the Israelis had with the organizers in terms of alternatives, and again as we mentioned in our statement earlier today, we had a similar incident in 2008. There are ways that are effective, that are non-provocative, and not likely to result in these sorts of actions, if one wanted to provide humanitarian assistance to Gaza, through the appropriate mechanisms. This sort of incident when you have statements coming from some of the participants in the flotilla, suggesting that maybe it was not solely to provide humanitarian assistance, but it may have been intended to provoke – not that everyone on that flotilla had that intention – give pause. And so that’s why an investigation is so important. And that’s why we thought it was important not to pre-judge any outcomes or pre-judge any conclusions before the Israeli government has an opportunity to do that full investigation.

Reporter: Would it be fair to say, some would say that this has been drafted in sort of a vague way so that each side can read it however they want. The President of the Security Council has just given a reading that is quite different than yours. Was that, is this the only way that we can reach compromises to have it so that each side can see it as it wants it? If the Secretary-General is to name—names investigators will the U.S. oppose it? I mean, he seems to expect that that will happen.

Amb. Wolff: The text reads pretty clearly to me. And the Secretary-General calls for a full investigation, and we believe the Israelis can do a full investigation. Thanks very much.


PRN: 2010/110