Today, the UN Security Council met to discuss steps forward on existing Iran sanctions. Ambassador Susan Rice said, "…sanctions are only a means to an end. Our ultimate goal is to ensure that Iran enters into full compliance with all its international nuclear obligations and takes the steps necessary to resolve outstanding questions. In the face of Iran’s deception and intransigence, the international community must speak with one voice, making clear that Iranian actions jeopardize international peace and security and will only further isolate the regime.
President Obama has been unequivocal with respect to our policy toward the Iranian nuclear program. As he has said, “There should be no doubt, the United States and the international community are determined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.” Iran’s illicit nuclear activity – and the threat it poses to regional stability and the rules underpinning the nuclear non-proliferation regime – is one of the greatest global challenges we face.” Full Text
A mild-mannered 64-year-old Japanese career diplomat, Yukio Amano managed to spark a wide range of emotions in power centers around the globe: warm smiles in Washington, Paris and London, a torrent of vitriol in Tehran, and ruffled feathers in Moscow and Beijing. That’s because, barely a year into his new job as Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Amano turned up the heat on Iran with a report for the first time giving his U.N. body’s imprimatur to the accusation that Iran may have done research work on nuclear weapons.That report has prompted Western powers to ratchet up sanctions, although Russia, China and other skeptics have not followed suit. And as tension rises, Amano could find himself at the center of the storm in 2012. (Source: Time.com)
"With the passing of National Defense Commission Chairman Kim Jong Il, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is now in a period of national mourning. We are deeply concerned with the well being of the North Korean people and our thoughts and prayers are with them during these difficult times. It is our hope that the new leadership of the DPRK will choose to guide their nation onto the path of peace by honoring North Korea’s commitments, improving relations with its neighbors, and respecting the rights of its people. The United States stands ready to help the North Korean people and urges the new leadership to work with the international community to usher in a new era of peace, prosperity and lasting security on the Korean Peninsula."
Iran has said that it seeks nuclear power solely for peaceful purposes. However, the Director General’s report and today’s action by the IAEA Board of Governors underscore that the international community does not find Iran’s claims credible. The P5+1 countries have affirmed Iran’s right to a peaceful nuclear program but make clear that with that right comes responsibilities – responsibilities Iran has yet to fulfill.”
"Iran has the choice to remain isolated outside the norms of the international community, or to take a new path that would bring Iran back into the community of nations as a member in good standing with its obligations. Full transparency and cooperation with the IAEA would be a solid first step. We urge Iran to take that step without delay."
Today, the United States will join partners from nearly 70 countries, international organizations, and the private sector at the United Nations in New York a plenary meeting of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, a growing diplomatic effort taking action against criminal activity that threatens commerce and humanitarian aid deliveries along one of the world’s busiest shipping corridors.
The plenary, hosted by the Netherlands, will be the tenth gathering of this outstanding international partnership. Since its initial meeting in January 2009, the Contact Group has nearly tripled in size − a testament to the global consensus that piracy poses a shared security challenge to maritime safety and to the need for further concerted and coordinated international action. Read More
Ambassador Susan Rice (Nov. 9): Protection of civilians is at the heart of what we should be doing as a Council. In the past year, we have made significant progress in operationalizing norms on the protection of civilians. This Council played a critical role in protecting the people of Côte d’Ivoire in the aftermath of their election. When Muammar Qadhafi moved to make good on his promises to massacre civilians in his own country, this Council acted.
The U.S. is proud to have taken part in the NATO-led coalition that was authorized without any opposition by this Council under UNSCR 1973. This was necessary and appropriate, given that Qadhafi’s forces continued to unleash brutal attacks on civilians and civilian-populated areas and hindered the delivery of humanitarian assistance. Thus, in accordance with Security Council Resolution 1973, NATO and its partners protected civilians for as long as necessary.
Of course, every situation is different, and every solution will be different. But the need to act in each instance remains. The situation most immediately confronting this Council is in Syria. The High Commissioner for Human Rights has warned that the Syrian government’s appalling actions might amount to crimes against humanity. Her office now places the likely death toll at at least 3,500. The Asad regime’s crimes are condemned more widely every day. The Gulf Cooperation Council has demanded an end to what it called Asad’s “killing machine.” The Arab League has worked hard to bring a halt to the violence, but, thus far, to no avail. Yet, this Council has not passed a single resolution even to condemn the Asad regime’s brutal attacks on civilians. But let there be no doubt, the crisis in Syria will stay before the Security Council, and we will not rest until this Council rises to meet its responsibilities. This Council has also failed to act or even to speak in defense of the thousands of innocent civilians in Sudan’s Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states, where a brutal military campaign by the government has again resulted in horrific loss of life and a dire humanitarian crisis. Our silence is deafening and inexcusable.
Overall, the United Nations and this Council face challenges both of will and capacity. To build our capacity to protect civilians, we believe the United Nations should advance on five fronts. Full Text
@AmbassadorRice: According to @UN rights office, death toll in #Syria has passed 3,500. In just 1 wk, Asad has systematically violated Arab League peace plan.