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Diplomacy in Action

Remarks on North Korea and Guinea-Bissau

Susan E. Rice
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, U.S. Mission to the United Nations
Remarks to the media following a Security Council stakeout
New York City
April 13, 2012


(As Delivered)

Good afternoon. The Council has discussed this morning both the situation with respect to DPRK and Guinea-Bissau, and I will brief you on both.

With respect to the first issue, the Council has just concluded consultations about the launch conducted yesterday by North Korea. The Council received a briefing from UN Assistant Secretary-General Oscar Fernandez-Taranco regarding the launch. Assistant Secretary-General Fernandez-Taranco reported that North Korea apparently launched a multi-stage rocket at 6:39 p.m. yesterday, Eastern Daylight Time. The launch was a failure.

He noted that the Secretary-General had released a statement regarding the launch in which the Secretary-General called the launch "deplorable as it defies the firm and unanimous stance of the international community" and noted that the "launch is in direct violation of Security Council Resolution 1874 and threatens regional stability." The Secretary-General also renewed his call on North Korean authorities to work towards building confidence with neighboring countries and improving the lives of its people.

Following our discussion, Council members have asked me to say the following on their behalf:

The Security Council held consultations to address the serious situation and listen to the concerns arising from the launch by North Korea. Members of the Security Council deplored this launch, which is in violation of Security Council Resolutions 1718 and 1874.

Members of the Security Council agreed to continue consultations on an appropriate response, in accordance with its responsibilities, given the urgency of the matter.

Now I’ll turn to Guinea-Bissau. The Council received a briefing on the situation in Guinea-Bissau from Assistant-Secretary-General Zerihoun. He noted that the situation is evolving rapidly and that it is not easy to confirm information at this time.

The military has arrested the Prime Minister, as well as Acting President Herrera. Their whereabouts cannot be confirmed at this time. The Secretariat urged the international community to address the cycle of violence and impunity in Guinea-Bissau. The members of the Security Council condemned the military action and urged the immediate restoration of civilian authority.

Council members are now discussing a press statement.

I’m happy to take a few questions.

Reporter: Ambassador Rice, do you expect the US to be pushing for sanctions or interested in sanctions on North Korea? And do you expect a presidential statement, press statement or anything like that in the near future?

Ambassador Rice: I’m not going to characterize the form of the response. This is the subject of early stage discussions among Council members.

Reporter: Ambassador, though, with an appropriate response, you have an opinion in terms of your national capacity. Can you speak to that, perhaps?

Ambassador Rice: I--the United States’ view of this is quite clear. We have condemned the launch. We view it as a direct violation of Resolutions 1718 and 1874. We think it’s important that the Council respond credibly. And we will be working in that direction.

Reporter: Will that be a sanctions resolution?

Ambassador Rice: As I said, I think it’s premature, both in my national capacity and as president of the Security Council, to predict or characterize the form of the reaction. We think a credible reaction is important.

Reporter: Ambassador, will you be discussing DPRK later on today? (Inaudible.)

Ambassador Rice: We have a very full agenda, many issues are brewing simultaneously and we’re working them simultaneously.

Reporter: How soon do you want to reach an agreement on the next appropriate measure? I mean, you are discussing other urgent matters but North Korea is also very urgent, so how –

Ambassador Rice: It is, and we’re working on it. And we will let you know when we have more to say. Thank you very much.

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