Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Ambassador John Bolton on Minister Pierre Gemayel assassination

Top Header Image of the State Department Logo and UN Headquarters
brown bar

November 21, 2006




Remarks by Ambassador John R. Bolton, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on the Assassination of the Lebanese Cabinet Minister Pierre Gemayel, at the Security Council Stakeout, November 21, 2006

Ambassador Bolton: Even as the Security Council considers the need to endorse the tribunal, to try the -- prosecution of those who committed the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri, we are confronted with what appears to be yet another terrorist assassination in Beirut. It's a very great tragedy. Certainly our thoughts are with the family of Pierre Gemayel.

But this also makes clear that we have to support the democratic forces in Lebanon against this politically motivated assassination. This is not the way to change a government. It shows why we need the tribunal established as soon as possible, why it was correct to expand the mandate of the Brammertz investigatory commission, and why the tribunal needs the flexibility to try the perpetrators of the other political assassinations in Lebanon.

This is potentially a turning point in the history of that country and therefore of the region.
So we strongly support the Siniora government and all the democratic forces in Lebanon. We call on all states in the region to support the democratic government and to urge everyone's cooperation in finding the assassins of Pierre Gemayel as soon as possible.

Reporter: Ambassador, given the -- Mr. Gemayel's positions concerning the tribunal and concerning Syrian involvement in Lebanon, are you concerned that Syria was behind this?

Ambassador Bolton: I think the facts need to be developed. But if you look at the reports of Mehlis and Brammertz over the months, the evidence that links the Hariri assassination to the other political assassinations, I think people can draw their own conclusions.

Reporter: Ambassador Bolton, there's voices on the Security Council who say now is not the time to push ahead with the tribunal, given the instability in Lebanon.

Ambassador Bolton: How incredibly wrong that would be. How incredibly wrong that would be. Instability? They 're killing people in Lebanon. They're assassinating political leaders. Not the time to seek justice? There may be those on the Security Council who say it. Let them step forward and say it.

Reporter: And will there be a council reaction specifically on the assassination of Mr. Gemayel?

Ambassador Bolton: I'll have to consult with my colleagues on it. I think something like that may well be appropriate, but obviously this has just happened within the past hours.

Reporter: Ambassador Bolton, how fast do you think we're moving on approving the letter to the secretary-general concerning the tribunals, sir?

Ambassador Bolton: Sad to say, I hope we're going to move faster than we were before.
Okay. Thank you very much.