Good afternoon, on behalf of the Security Council, I would like to read the following statement* on Cote d’Ivoire:
The members of the Security Council after the unanimous adoption of Security Council resolution 1962 (2010), remain deeply concerned about the continued violence in Côte d’Ivoire, including armed attacks against the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) and multiple civilian fatalities, many more wounded and even more being displaced across Côte d’Ivoire.
The members of the Security Council condemn in the strongest terms acts of violence against UNOCI and recall its resolution 1502 (2003) on Protection of United Nations personnel, associated personnel and humanitarian personnel in conflict zones. The members of the Security Council warn all those responsible for attacks against peacekeepers and civilians that they will be held accountable and will be brought to justice, in accordance with international law and international humanitarian law.
The members of the Security Council urge all Ivorians to exercise maximum restraint, remain calm, resist provocative actions, refrain from violence, and work together to restore sustainable peace.
The members of the Security Council reiterate their support for the constructive role of the Secretary-General in Côte d’Ivoire and stress that UNOCI, under the leadership of his Special Representative, continues to fulfill impartially its existing mandate, and to facilitate political dialogue between the Ivorian stakeholders in order to ensure peace in Côte d’Ivoire and respect for the outcome of the Presidential election as recognized by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union.
Reporter: Ambassador Rice, can you give us an update on where the Council is on negotiations on North Korea please?
Ambassador Rice: There’s really no update to provide beyond what I said last night. There has not been continued discussion today of the text. I think most Council members — we still never heard back from at least one delegation as to whether they had instructions. But I think most Council members concluded that the window of relevance, or principle relevance for the stake that we were discussing yesterday, has largely passed.
Reporter: Ambassador, does this meant that there’s no reason to continue with these discussions? What’s the U.S. position in your capacity as ambassador?
Ambassador Rice: The U.S. position is that it would have been constructive, had it been possible, to issue a strong and unanimous statement in which we made clear that it was the Council’s view that the attack by North Korea on the island of Yeonpyeong was to be condemned, and that we were clear as to what had transpired in addition to urging restraint. At this point, since that was not possible despite the fact that the vast majority of Council members were prepared to do so, we don’t think that it’s particularly necessary or productive to continue the discussion. The goal is peace and security on the Korean peninsula, and we stand in support of that. And I think continued haggling over a statement whose relevance has largely passed is not particularly productive. I think it’s unfortunate that almost all of the Council was prepared to go in that direction last night, but not all of us. And today, we’re frankly focused on Cote d’Ivoire and a number of other issues that are also pressing.
Reporter: On Cote d’Ivoire, Alain LeRoy told us afterwards that Laurent Gbagbo has some non-Ivoirians, he used the word “mercenaries” from Liberia, fighting with his forces. I wonder what you think of that. And also there’s a report that Ocampo of the ICC told the U.S. Mission or yourself that Bashir had $9 billion taken from Sudan and put in London, Lloyd’s of London, is what he mentioned. And I just wondered, it’s one of these cables, I don’t want to talk about the cable aspect of it, but I just wanted to know what do you think of that? Is that something Ocampo met with you and Ambassador Wolff and said, and if case, what did the U.S. do to find out if it’s true?
Ambassador Rice: I’m not going to comment on cables. I don’t have a recollection of that being told to me directly, and I don’t know if it was said to anybody else. With respect to the mercenaries allegedly being utilized in Cote d’Ivoire, we’re aware of those reports; to my knowledge, they have not yet been confirmed. If they are confirmed, it would be a source of grave concern, not only for the United States, but indeed, for the entire Security Council.
Thank you all very much.