Ambassador Rice: Good afternoon everyone. We just completed an important session in the open chamber on Sudan. And in that session I had the opportunity to underscore the congratulations that President Obama expressed to the people of Sudan for this historic referendum that has just occurred peacefully and, by all accounts, credibly.
It was a real milestone in the history of Sudan and for the people of Sudan and we obviously, like the people of Sudan, await the process of determining the results. And we urge all to remain calm and peaceful, as they have been throughout this process, as the results are awaited. We have expressed our real concern about the violence in Abyei and the border region that unfortunately occurred during the process of the referendum. We have urged all to work, as they pledged to do, to resolve the differences that remain on Abyei and other outstanding CPA issues peacefully.
I underscored our praise not only for the people of Sudan and the Government of Southern Sudan and the Government of Sudan for what they all did to make this referendum possible, but I also underscored our personal appreciation for UNMIS and for the leadership of SRSG Menkerios, who were really instrumental in ensuring that this process occurred peacefully, credibly, and on time. I also took the opportunity to underscore our continued concern about the increased violence in Darfur, as did many other delegations, and to stress that we look forward to a lasting and durable peace with justice for the people of Sudan—North, South, Darfur, and all together. So those were among the very important messages that came out of the Council meeting.
You’ll hear from the president of the Council subsequently a statement on behalf of the entire Council. One of the gratifying things about today’s session, as well as our previous work on Sudan, is that the Council has remained unified in its support for full and timely implementation of the CPA. We all underscored that there are outstanding issues that remain to be resolved but affirmed our commitment to work together to support their resolution.
So with that let me take a couple questions.
Reporter: I have a Haiti question. There are initial reports that “Baby Doc” Duvalier has been detained, and I was wondering if you had anything further on that. And just in general, what do you think his role, if any, should be in coming back and how the UN should deal with that.
Ambassador Rice: Neil, I have been in the Council all morning and I haven’t seen any such report, so I can’t comment on them with any specificity.
Reporter: What about his presence there?
Ambassador Rice: I think that it is clearly a tense and fragile time in Haiti, given the unresolved issues around the election, given the cholera epidemic, and it’s certainly in the interests of the people of Haiti for there to be peaceful and cooperative efforts to resolve the outstanding issues related to the elections.
Reporter: Did you see that Sudan is moving in the right direction (inaudible)
Ambassador Rice: One of the critical issues for the United States, and indeed for the entire international community, has been successful implementation of the CPA. And the successful completion of the referendum for the South is obviously a critical and historic milestone along the path to full implementation of the CPA. We welcome that, we have congratulated the CPA parties for making that possible, and above all the people of Sudan. We continue to want to ensure that the results of the referendum are fully respected, that the outstanding issues of Abyei and the many other issues related to wealth sharing, to borders, to citizenship—that you know well—among others, are also resolved urgently and through constructive negotiations among the parties. And obviously, also, as I said in the Council, and as many other countries have underscored, we remain very much concerned about the situation in Darfur. But clearly the events of the past week were very positive and an encouraging step, and we congratulate all concerned.
Reporter: Ambassador, we have now entered an election year for Secretary General. What is the US view of the Secretary General’s performance in the first term? Does it support him and is there concern on the part of the US Mission about the chairman of the House and Foreign Affairs Committee tying US dues to performance of the UN as the Republican majority takes over the House?
Ambassador Rice: On the second question, let me say that I very much look forward to working with leaders of both Houses on the important issue of our budget request, and President Obama has made clear that we’re fully committed to paying our dues in full and on time. And that remains the strong view of the Administration and we’ll be looking forward to working with Congress to ensure that that’s possible.
With respect to the Secretary General’s – the Secretary General election, which is upcoming, Bill, this will not be the forum in which I announce a US position but clearly the United States has worked very constructively and productively with this Secretary General. We have been grateful for his leadership on a number of important issues, and we continue to talk about the ways we can work together to strengthen this institution, to make it more efficient, more cost effective, and to improve its performance. Thank you.