Hearing on the Nomination of John Bolton to be U.S. Representative to the U.N. (Continued)
Thursday, July 27, 2006; 10:29 PM
This is part two of the hearing transcript. Click here to read part one.
BOLTON: Now, all of this has been extensively written up in correspondence and statements by Senator Roberts, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee.
But I think what I'm trying to make clear is, I didn't say, "Send me all the information on Mr. Smith," or, "I want information about Mr. Smith."
You're sitting there at your desk, reading along, and suddenly you come upon a named American individual and you say, "Who is that? Would that help me understand the intelligence better?"
And it's not just that I or any other senior official asks for it and we get it automatically; you have to state a reason, it goes through INR, it goes through NSA, and, as I say, in these cases appears to have been approved.
Other senior officials do the same thing. And I have to tell you, when I took this job and I was coming in and getting my intelligence briefings, I was briefed. The official giving me the briefing said, "Now, let me explain to you how you request a name under minimization," and then laughed and said, "Well, I guess you already know that, don't you?"
This is something that is -- it's part of the legitimate needs of the jobs involved. It is subject to check. It's not at the individual's exclusive discretion by any stretch of the imagination.
DODD: I appreciate the answer. And you'll appreciate, as well, that as a member of this here -- and, again, reiterate for you here, not a request by all 100 members of the United States Senate, but the appropriate members of this body to be able to have access to that kind of information. It was an issue that was raised, obviously at a sensitive time. We've since discovered, of course, in December of last year, a wider spread issue involving warrantless wiretaps that have provoked even further discussion.
But for the two members of the committee to be told by the administration that they couldn't have access to that same information which you as a member of the administration had to determine, in fact to corroborate, if you will, that which you've just said here, was a source of significant contention concerning your nomination.
BOLTON: I remember.
DODD: Of course you do. And I make the point here again, it's still an issue, in a sense, and I think my colleagues, some may discount it, I think it's very important for the United States Senate, where matters arise like this.
This matter could have been dealt with, I would point out, along the lines you just described. I think it might have become almost a minor issue. If, in fact, your analysis and your description is as it is, then certainly might have moved right along. The fact that there was such resistance to it provoked a lot of concerns among members on this side of the dais about the rationale for seeking those names, what happened to those names.
That's all the point I wanted to make.
BOLTON: I appreciate that. I just wanted to follow up on one point.
As I said, if it were only my equities at stake, be fine with me, because I think it would eliminate this issue.
BOLTON: There are other equities. It's not just my personal fortunes that are at issue here, having to do in part with the relationship between the intelligence community and Congress and the relationship between the Intelligence Committees of the Senate and House and other committees.
But as you know, you were kind enough at one point -- I asked Senator Biden during those discussions if I could come up and see him and you joined that meeting. I thought we had a good discussion about it.
Nobody would be more pleased if we could resolve the issue.
But I do think there are other serious considerations. I'd certainly be willing to continue the discussions about the question. I'd have to talk to others in the administration. I have spoken to John Negroponte about it, and let's see what might happen.
DODD: I appreciate that.
Mr. Chairman, I might make a request of you and Senator Biden that in light of Ambassador Bolton's response here, that maybe a request of Ambassador Negroponte about this could be one way of trying to resolve this issue.
Again, my request is not that all members of this committee or even necessarily the chairman or the ranking member of this committee, but the appropriate members of the Intelligence Committee have access to the information to determine whether or not it would warrant any further investigation by the committee.
And if that's the case, that would certainly help alleviate this issue.
I know you did once, already, a year ago, Mr. Chairman. I was very grateful to you at that time. But I might request that a similar request be made again to see if we can't resolve this matter.
LUGAR: Let the chair respond that we will try to obtain this information. As the senator remembers, there were long arguments between committees about jurisdiction, quite apart from the administration. And all of these powers that be may have changed their minds, but nevertheless it's a request I honor and try to make certain our record is as complete as possible...
DODD: I appreciate that. And I realize this is going back in time, but the issue is still an important one, in my view, in terms of the relationship between the executive and legislative branch in the conduct of this kind of business.
Let me move, if I can, to another issue that came up at the time. And it has to do with my concern.
Let me say, Mr. Ambassador, of all the issues, I think this one, in my mind, is maybe the most significant one and the problem that I just have generally, and that is the issue of attempting to pressure analysts at our intelligence agencies to produce information that would conform to a particular point of view in the conduct of foreign policy.
And I want to say over and over again here, whether this was a Democratic administration, a Republican administration, in my view anyone who ever attempts to do this, in my view does not deserve to be reconfirmed or confirmed for any high-ranking position.
DODD: I'm just deeply concerned with this -- the ability to have solid, reliable information. And I know that it may -- I don't disagree with arguments and disputes over this. But when attempts are made -- there were seven high-ranking Bush officials who strongly recommended to this committee over a year ago that you not be confirmed to this position because of matters relating to this issue.
And one of the matters occurred -- and I raise it with you here again today because we didn't have a chance to raise it during your confirmation hearing -- involved the case of a national intelligence officer for Latin America -- we'll call Mr. Smith here.
When asked about your conversation with a senior official at the National Intelligence Council, Stuart Cohen, you said the following at the committee hearing: "I also knew that in the weeks and months previous there to dealing with this, Mr. Smith," who was the assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere, "had told me and others he had very grave concerns with Mr. Smith on a range of issues."
"And I think I said to Mr. Cohen in the course of conversation that based on what I had seen in my limited area, that I agreed with him. And that was it. I had one part of one conversation with one person one time on Mr. Smith, and that was it. I let it go," end of quote.
That was your testimony before this committee.
The committee subsequently found documentary evidence to the contrary. For example, in late July of 2002, after your meeting with Mr. Cohen, your staff drafted letters to the CIA leadership seeking the removal of Mr. Smith, and indicated in e-mails that, quote, "John doesn't want this to slip any further."
Discussion between your office and Mr. Reich's office continued until October.
I ask you whether or not you stand by your earlier testimony that your effort to seek the removal of Mr. Smith was one part of one conversation one time.
BOLTON: Well, let me say, as a general proposition, I have not had a chance to go back all the materials generated last spring. I've been a little busy in New York, and my memory's now 15 months older than it was then.
But I can tell you this, those letters were never sent, because I didn't want to do that.
DODD: You didn't want to do what?
BOLTON: I didn't want to seek Mr. Smith's removal. I had made the point that his conduct -- not his intelligence analysis, but his conduct -- saying to people that the famous heritage speech on the -- beyond the axis of evil had not been cleared by the intelligence community when it had been. And it disturbed me that people -- it always disturbs me when people promulgate falsehoods.
And that's what bothered me about his conduct.
Otto Reich, you quite rightly say, the assistant secretary for Latin American affairs, had much broader concern with Mr. Smith. I think I testified and -- an opinion that he felt strongly about because of his area of policy...
DODD: Did you draft the letters or did your staff draft the letters...
BOLTON: The staff drafted the letters and they were never sent.
DODD: And did you review the letters? Did you agree with the drafts of the letters?
BOLTON: Of course. That's why they were never sent.
DODD: So you disagreed with them?
BOLTON: I did not want them sent, and they were not sent.
DODD: All right, thanks.
Let me move onto the second.
LUGAR: Senator Dodd, your...
DODD: Time up. I apologize. And I'll come back.
LUGAR: Thank you very much, Senator.
LUGAR: Senator Coleman?
COLEMAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I was reflecting on the comments of Chairman Warner -- it seems so long ago -- when he talked about the complexity of the challenges facing the United States today and the importance of the continuity of representation.
And I do want to say upfront that that's important, and that I think the decision facing us is whether we confirm the renomination of this president -- we have an acting ambassador who's there, he's doing the job -- or whether we walk in in January with the possibility of not having that continuity of representation when the issues that face us are so great, in North Korea, in Lebanon, in Israel, in Iran and on and on and on.
And so I just hope my colleagues reflect upon that.
Just a couple questions: When the G-77 rejected what I saw as the modest reforms set forth by the attorney (sic) general, I think you said the vote was about 122-50. Is that correct?
BOLTON: I think it's in that range. The 50 is right. I'd have to check on the other one.
COLEMAN: And in terms of the JUSSKCANZ group, did Japan vote with us on that?
BOLTON: Yes, they did.
COLEMAN: Canada, are they part of that group? Did they vote with us on that?
BOLTON: Yes, they did.
COLEMAN: New Zealand, did they vote with us on that?
BOLTON: Yes, they did.
COLEMAN: And when one looks at the breakdown of the U.N. member contributions to the assessed budget, we're first, Japan is second.
What about Germany? Did they vote with us on that?
BOLTON: Yes, all of the European Union countries voted with us.
COLEMAN: And one on my concerns here as I listen is you're being held to account, held to blame for the G-77 trashing reform when in fact our allies and those who are contributing the money were all with us, and that coalition you held together, but the nature the U.N. is not everybody is with us.
And it's interesting, as I was just listening to the protesters, and I was reflecting, and I would bet that if you asked the two protesters that we had to cite a single statement of John Bolton or a single action of John Bolton that they object to, I doubt that they could do it. Their opposition is to U.S. policy.
And perhaps the most encouraging thing I heard this morning was from the ranking member, who said I don't want to hold you accountable for the administration action or inaction.
And if you really look at the opposition at times to this nomination, there are two things: One, it's opposition to U.S. policy, by the way, even amongst us on this side of the table I think it's fair to say we don't always agree. We don't always agree with this administration.
But I think what we do fundamentally agree with is the belief that the president has the right to have his voice and his representation, somebody he trusts, representing us at the United Nations.
That's, to me, the fundamental question here.
And to look at the area of U.N. reform and to say that somehow the failure of those nations that don't have an interest and by the way don't have skin in the game on funding the United Nations, that their resistance is somehow a reflection of your failure -- there's a little bit of history.
The ranking member talked about -- gave Ambassador Holbrooke great credit when we had the issue with our arrears. Was Helms-Biden in effect at that time?
BOLTON: That was the negotiation that actually led to Helms- Biden.
COLEMAN: And tell me a little bit about Helms-Biden.
BOLTON: It was an arrangement whereby the United States essentially paid back the arrearages that had been developed during the mid-1990s as a consequence of congressional withholdings because of dissatisfaction with the U.N., in exchange for lowering the U.S.'s assessed share of contributions to the budget.
COLEMAN: But in part, then, it was what I might label playing hard ball, saying Congress is saying we're going to hold back some dues, that led to a resolution of this matter.
BOLTON: The hardest kind of hardball, holding the money back.
COLEMAN: And my question then would be today, kind of looking at U.N. reform and the failure of the G-77 to move forward, would it be fair to say that many folks at the United Nations do not believe that there's the political will in this body, in the Congress, to hold back, to do what we did with Helms-Biden, if that was necessary, to achieve reform?
COLEMAN: Would it be fair to say that many folks at the United Nations do not believe that there's the political will in this body, in the Congress, to hold back, to do what we did with Helms-Biden, if that was necessary, to achieve reform?
BOLTON: I think many of them do have the attitude that this, too, shall pass and that life will go on.
I really think Paul Volcker's insight, his characterization of the problem that he came to after the enormous study of the oil-for- food program, of describing the problem at the U.N. as being the culture of inaction...
COLEMAN: I actually asked him whether it was a culture of corruption.
COLEMAN: He wouldn't go that far. But he said: And by the way, that culture of inaction, that was there before John Bolton was appointed as acting as permanent representative.
BOLTON: It's been there for a long time. But it's a profound insight because it indicates, not simply opposition to moving this box or changing this line on an organizational diagram; it's a more profound difficulty that we have and why I think that the real reform to get to what Secretary Rice called "the lasting revolution of reform" is a difficult task.
COLEMAN: So help me understand; what's next for real reform?
If there can be any sense of optimism, what's the next step, in terms of real reform?
And is there anything that we, in Congress, can do to assist the efforts to achieve reform?
BOLTON: Well, I think we're going to continue to pursue all three of the broad areas that we outlined: management reform, which was the subject of the unfortunate vote in the fifth (ph) committee, opposing many of the secretary general's management reforms; the mandate review, which is, I think, the principal requirement of the outcome document in the area of U.N. reform, to look at these 9,000 U.N. mandates and try to eliminate the ones that are outmoded, consolidate those that are duplicative and reprioritize -- focus the priorities, among other things.
When you have that many mandates, it's hard to see how you have any priorities -- and then, also, to work on continuing to strengthen things like whistleblower reform and the Ethics Office.
I might say, in that regard, I've met, some weeks back, with the head of the U.N. Staff Union. I think I may be the first U.S. perm. rep. to meet with head of the Staff Union.
And they had had a study commission of the whistleblower protection regulations in the Ethics Office because they, in effect, represent the people who are going to be the whistleblowers. And their conclusion was that the regulations were weak and the office was weak as well.
BOLTON: So that was a disturbing piece of news, but these are important priorities we're going to continue to work with, and I hope to have the chance to talk to the Staff Union again and learn some more from them.
I wish I had done it earlier in my tenure, frankly, but I'm glad I did it when I did.
COLEMAN: And I'm still trying to understand, other than discussion, is there any kind of leverage that we have to actually make mandate review happen, actually to have a strengthened Office of Investigative Services?
Is there any kind of leverage that you have in dealing with the G-77, who have made it clear that they don't have an interest in significant reform?
BOLTON: Well, I think that it's very important that all the countries in New York know that Congress is acutely interested in the outcome of this reform, and that it's not just the administration or certainly not just yours truly.
And I think that Senator Lugar mentioned earlier that you and he and Senator Voinovich had come up back in February. Your colleagues on the other side of the Hill have come up as well.
I think it's important that those kinds of trips continue and that Congress make its voice heard that these reforms are important to making the U.N. stronger and more effective, and that we're not in a position where we're going to wait forever for this to happen.
COLEMAN: But we'll just get back to that historical point, because I think it has relevance to today. When we go back to the clearing up of arrearages, is it fair to say that Helms-Biden and the threat of using our financial leverage was a critical factor in resolving that situation?
BOLTON: I don't think there's any question about it. And I've had my own personal experiences with the use of financial resources as leverage, and it's been effective.
COLEMAN: Just on a personal note, because I admire your commitment to service, Ambassador, and kind of going through what you had to go through to even be here at this point.
First, overall, the impression at the U.N., you have some strong feelings. You knew the organization. You were involved in it. Then you were on the outside. Now you're there.
Has your impression of the U.N. changed? Has there been anything that surprised you in the last year?
BOLTON: Not really.
COLEMAN: I don't know whether that's good or bad, by the way.
BOLTON: I think there's a lot of work to do. I thought it on July the 31st of last year, the day before the president appointed me, and on July 27, today, I still think there's a lot of work to do.
COLEMAN: As you look to the future, understanding all the shortcomings, understand the culture of inaction, understand the difficulty of pulling together consensus on a Security Council, as we look kind of into the crystal ball and I'll just pick a couple areas: Lebanon; the time is not ripe now for negotiations. And I think you've made it clear and the secretary's made it clear that we need a possibility of a longer-term of stability there.
But what role do you see the Security Council playing in resolving the Lebanese situation at some point in the future?
BOLTON: Well, I think the council can have and should have an important role in continuing to push for full implementation of 1559 and 1680 and the other resolutions that flow from that.
And I think 1559 is an interesting example, if I may point out. That resolution was adopted by a vote of 9-0 with six abstentions, including Russia and China.
So there was a case -- nine being the absolute minimum number of votes under the U.N. charter by which the council can adopt a resolution -- so that was a case where there was not unanimity on the council, but where the plan laid out by 1559 has been I think critical in helping to shape the way ahead.
BOLTON: There's more work the council can do. I think there's more work in backing up the international investigatory commission that was set up under 1595 to investigate the Hariri assassination, where we've also granted it additional authority to cooperate with the government of Lebanon in investigating some 14 other terrorist assassinations that were conducted there, hopefully to see if there are patterns that persist among those assassinations that may tell us more about who the perpetrators are.
So I think the council has a lot of work to do in the Lebanon area, and I think it's a principal part of Secretary Rice's planning and her negotiations that 1559 and the Taif agreement provide the guiding principles.
COLEMAN: And thank you for that. And I just want to say, Ambassador, and close, I've been to the United Nations with the chairman and Senator Voinovich, I've watched you work, I've visited with your colleagues. I want you to know you have my unequivocal, unhesitating support. We need to confirm this nomination, and I hope you get a chance for an up-or-down vote.
BOLTON: Thank you.
COLEMAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
LUGAR: Well, thank you very much, Senator Coleman.
Let me say before I recognize Senator Feingold that I've asked Senator Coleman to chair the committee. The chair will need to leave the hearing for a period of time starting about 11:45. I presume the hearing is going to go on for a while. And I'm grateful to Senator Coleman and his longevity and his interest in the United Nations, as well as the ambassador, for taking hold at that point.
FEINGOLD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Ambassador Bolton, welcome. I obviously don't have to tell you how important the position of U.S. ambassador to the U.N. is today. We're looking to the United Nations to help us respond to some of the biggest threats to international peace and security, including violence in the Middle East, escalating nuclear crises in Iran and North Korea, growing instability in Somalia and ongoing genocide in Darfur.
We need the U.N. to serve as a forum where we can work with other nations to address issues that directly affect our own national security and get real results. That does means we need to reform the U.N., to make it more effective and more accountable. But real reform will require U.S. leadership, not just brinkmanship, bullying or scorn.
Ambassador Bolton, I opposed your nomination last year because of your hostility toward the United Nations. Concerns that you had pursued a personal policy agenda while holding public office led me to question whether you were really the best person to advance U.S. interests at the U.N.
And it gives me no pleasure to say that your record over the last year has not sufficiently put those concerns to rest. It's not just a question of being tough, it's a question of achieving U.S. objectives. We need that kind of leadership now more than ever. It is simply not enough to blame all of our failures at the U.N. over the last year on bureaucratic inefficiency or organizational ineptitude. We need an ambassador at the U.N. who can deliver results.
And my first question, Ambassador, is sort of taking a look at the record over the last year at the United Nations, I tend to see time and time again a failure to build consensus on a number of important issues.
FEINGOLD: Let me just mention a few -- some of which my colleagues have already mentioned: a world summit outcome document that failed to include a single reference to nuclear nonproliferation or a definition of terrorism; a flawed Human Rights Council; lack of significant progress on management reform; a divisive budget cap deadlock; slow progress toward an effective Security Council on Iran; a watered-down resolution on North Korea.
Let me ask you why we should have confidence that you will have more success in the future, particularly as we're facing an almost perfect storm of international crises that we're looking to the U.N. to help us address?
BOLTON: In part, Senator, I would take issue with your assessment of the outcomes in some of the areas that you've mentioned.
I think the resolution on North Korea, unanimously adopted by the Security Council as Resolution 1695, was a significant step -- the first resolution in 13 years on North Korea.
I think we are going to get the resolution on Iran, and I think it will be a significant step forward to make mandatory the requirement that Iran suspend its uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities.
I think that the negotiations that we engaged in -- and the outcome documents substantially improved that document. And the fact that there were no provisions in it on arms control and disarmament was due to some fundamental disagreements that existed. And it certainly takes more than one to disagree.
There is a process that's required to get the reform that we want undertaken, and that does require a significant amount of effort.
I think it's significant that while the scandals of the oil-for- food program, for example, had a profound influence on this country, in Congress and in public opinion, it was difficult to get the attention of many people to the need for sweeping reform that was revealed by the oil-for-food program.
I think when we had examples of procurement fraud in U.N. peacekeeping activities, when we looked at the continuing extent of sexual exploitation and abuse by U.N. peacekeepers, we ran into opposition with even having the Security Council investigate those matters.
So I don't, believe me, take full credit for successes at the U.N. I am fully aware that a lot of the work that goes into those successes takes place in Washington and through our embassies in other capitals. But neither is it the case that I think that it's accurate to say when you have the accumulated inertia that we see at the U.N. and the need to overcome that culture of inaction, that whatever success or lack that we have to date is entirely attributable to me one way or the other.
FEINGOLD: Oh, and I think that's fair. But the question is whether the approach and the emphasis and the tone that you take assists us in getting those resolutions or does not. And that's my main concern.
And just as a point on the North Korea resolution: As you well know, it did not include Chapter 7 sanctions, something that you indicated was crucial.
BOLTON: No, actually, I did not indicate that. What I indicated and said to the press and said in all the negotiations that we wanted a resolution that would bind North Korea, and it's our judgment that that's exactly what it does.
There's a lengthy and, some would say, theological debate about how one does that in a Security Council resolution.
BOLTON: I think the conclusion we reached is that you look at the entire language of the resolution. And that our conclusion was -- and the conclusion of our friends, and I include specifically there Japan, which was, of all the council members, in addition to the United States, most concerned that that resolution bind North Korea, that we concluded that it did.
FEINGOLD: Well, that surprises me a little bit. It sounds a little bit like an after-the-fact characterization, but let me move on.
Senator Coleman alluded to this. Lately, you've been quoted in the press talking about the pressure building in Congress to withhold contributions from the U.N.
At this time, when we're working with the U.N. on a number of global crises, do you think the U.S. should pay its obligations to the U.N.?
BOLTON: It is unequivocally the position of the administration to pay our assessed contribution. But I've worked in and studied the U.N. for roughly 25 years now. And I've seen in the mid-1980s and the mid-1990s the dissatisfaction levels in Congress grow to the point where our assessments were withheld.
And I think there's enormous dissatisfaction. I think it's one of the reasons why we have tried to persuade others of the urgency of U.N. reform so that we don't find ourselves in that situation again.
FEINGOLD: But having said that, do you think the U.S. should pay its obligations to the U.N.?
BOLTON: As I said about 30 seconds ago: Yes, I do.
FEINGOLD: All right. Getting a U.N. peacekeeping mission into Darfur has been a high-level U.S. priority. And I just want to ask why you didn't travel with other Security Council members to Darfur when they went to Sudan earlier this year? Is this some indication of the importance of the issue to you?
If you could say a bit about that.
BOLTON: Yes. I had, long before the timing of that mission was scheduled, made a personal commitment in the United Kingdom. A lot of people had gone to a lot of effort to put that in place. And I didn't feel that I could break the commitment as a matter of my personal word.
Instead, I sent our alternative representative to the Security Council, Ambassador Sanders, who was with the delegation through its entire trip in Ethiopia, Sudan, and Chad.
FEINGOLD: You're saying it was a personal commitment of a business nature, not...
BOLTON: No, no, no -- well...
FEINGOLD: It was not a personal commitment in the sense of your own family?
BOLTON: Right, that's correct.
On June 19th of this year, you told the press that you did not see the need for an expanded United Nations mission in East Timor, despite the severe breakdown of the new national security forces that took place in April and May.
And the next day, the U.S. voted for a Security Council resolution requesting a report on the role for the United Nations in Timor-Leste, taking into account the current situation, the need for a strengthened presence of the United Nations.
How would you characterize this apparent discrepancy between your statements to the press and the later official U.S. position?
BOLTON: Well, I don't know what you're quoting from, but I know there were statements at the time that the U.N. dad left East Timor prematurely.
And I, in response to a question, I said I didn't think that the current difficulties in East Timor had anything to do with the reason for the earlier U.N. presence in East Timor, which was the independence struggle from Indonesia.
I made the comment in response to that kind of question.
So I think it was addressing the historical circumstances, but it was not related to the current situation, where we are actively consulting with Australia and other key countries to determine exactly what the appropriate U.N. response is to the outbreak of violence in East Timor.
FEINGOLD: Well, other questions today have had to do with the importance that our government being consistent in its message.
FEINGOLD: So this issue about East Timor relates to that concern...
BOLTON: If you could show me the quotation, Senator, I'll be happy to take a look at it again.
FEINGOLD: Talking about your quotation?
FEINGOLD: I will be happy to get that for you, but first I want to do a follow-up question.
I understand that East Timor will be a focus of the Security Council in August to discuss the report findings and determine the possible need for a larger U.N. presence.
If the report calls for an expanded U.N. force, would you support it, and what do you consider to be the appropriate role for the international community in East Timor?
BOLTON: Well, I'd have to look at the entire report, and obviously, consult within the government. I don't make these decisions on my own. I follow instructions from Washington.
As I said to you a moment ago, we've been in very close touch with the Australians, particularly their permanent representative, who is a former minister of defense of Australia, to be sure that our policy is closely coordinated with that government, given their troops on the ground. And I would expect that we would want to stay in very close touch with them and align our policies, and I would expect that's what will happen.
FEINGOLD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
COLEMAN: Thank you, Senator Feingold.
VOINOVICH: First of all, welcome back to the committee. I want to thank you for your service at the United Nations.
You serve at one of the most challenging, critical and fragile times in our nation's history. I think our president has more on his international plate than maybe any president since FDR. We're confronting serious national security and humanitarian challenges in Iraq, Afghanistan. I think Senator Feingold did a good job of defining what we're confronted with.
We're now in the midst of a crisis in the Middle East where Israel is battling with Hamas and Hezbollah. A cease-fire is being contemplated and all that goes along with it, and Israel's relations with Lebanon is at an all-time low.
And last but not least, I think that we need to understand that we have a war against Islamic extremists who have hijacked the Koran to make people believe that jihad against us and people that share our values is consistent with the Koran. And yesterday, I was really pleased that Prime Minister Maliki made a point that suicide killing of women and children is not consistent with the Koran, and that freedom, rule of law, human rights was consistent with the Koran.
And I would think that all of us should be praying to the holy spirit that he enlightens our president and other world leaders at this time to make good and wise decisions.
Mr. Chairman, my position regarding Mr. Bolton's stewardship at the U.N. is outlined in an opinion piece that appeared in The Washington Post last week. I ask the chairman to include in the record the article which appeared in The Post.
I would also be happy to speak to any of my colleagues about the time I've spent talking to John Bolton in person and on the phone, and also the telephone conversations that I've had with John Bolton's colleagues on his performance at the United Nations.
COLEMAN: It will be included, without objection.
VOINOVICH: And I think for members of this committee to rely on a recent article in the New York Times as the basis for judging his performance is not fair, and I would suggest that they pick up the phone and talk with his colleagues at the U.N., as I have.
VOINOVICH: Again, I'd be glad to share those conversations that I had with these people that work with you, Mr. Bolton, with the members of this committee.
You've served as ambassador since August of last year. You've faced a very difficult atmosphere at the U.N. Anybody representing the united states at the U.N. has got a tough job.
I congratulate you on the success that we had on the compromise resolution on North Korea with Russia and China. I think it was significant.
In fact, this committee had a wonderful presentation by Chris Hill, was it last week or the week before, about how significant that resolution was in getting Russia and China to go along with it.
My first question is: What is your opinion on the chance that the P-5 and Germany will be able to agree on a strong resolution that will deal with Iran's defiance of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the international arms control regime and the United Nations?
BOLTON: Senator, I'm optimistic we're going to reach agreement. I had hoped we would have reached agreement more quickly, but in part because of the hostilities in southern Lebanon, it's been a busy time and we've had to juggle a number of things.
But this is a priority, because we contemplate in the resolution that when we make the suspension of uranium enrichment activities mandatory, we're going to give Iran a brief grace period within which, yet again, to give them another opportunity to accept that they're going to have to suspend their uranium enrichment activities, after which we will return, as our foreign ministers have already agreed, to the question of Security Council sanctions.
So we're eager to get this in place. There's yet time for the Iranians to respond affirmatively to the very generous offer we've put forward.
But in any event, it is important to get the uranium enrichment activities suspended or at least to order Iran to suspend those activities promptly.
VOINOVICH: I would suggest that that's a good example of the multilateral approach that we've been following in the United Nations, and one that you have been participating in.
I think one of the concerns everyone had was you might go up there and do your own thing and didn't understand how important consensus was. And I think you've been very, very active in working on consensus to get things done in the United Nations.
The other question that I have is tell me about the status of reforms now. Senator Coleman made some reference to that.
The budget cap has been lifted, and the cap was lifted by consensus in late June. We disassociated with consensus, with Japan and Australia.
And specifically, what is the status of the management reforms that Kofi Annan proposed in his report entitled "Investing in the United Nations"?
And I think it's important for everyone to understand that he recommended pretty much mirrored with what George Mitchell and Newt Gingrich suggested, it mirrored what Paul Volcker had suggested after he did his investigation into the oil-for-food scandal.
The proposals were blocked by the G-77. And now that the budget cap's lifted, is there still hope that we can achieve the reforms in this proposal and streamline the organizations and its procurement policies?
Now, 50 countries opposed the G-77's resolution to block the Annan management proposal. So that's pretty significant that they were -- they wanted to see those proposals go forward.
The question now is that now the cap is lifted, what kind of cooperation are we going to get from these 50 people, countries, to move forward with these reforms that are absolutely necessary if the United Nations is going to be successful?
BOLTON: Well, I think for many of the 50 countries that voted with us on the management reforms, there was a great deal of disappointment that when we came to the expiration date for the expenditure cap, June 30th, that we did not have any progress, any real progress in the mandate review area and that we were stymied on the management reform front.
We all said -- we had a meeting with the G-77 a few weeks before that date, Japan, the United States, and Austria, which was then president of the European Union.
And we all said essentially the same thing to the G-77 -- we wanted to see the cap lifted by consensus, but we wanted substantial progress in management reform by June 30, and we wanted a road map to the end of the year as to how we were going to finish the mandate review.
And the status point now is that the expenditure cap has, in fact, been lifted, but we did not making substantial progress and we're still going to have to work on the way ahead.
I think it's very important we continue to make a maximum effort, although the expenditure cap is lifted. When we were in the final days of deliberation, one ambassador from a Latin American country very close to the United States said, you know, look, the expenditure cap was necessary.
BOLTON: We need an incentive to push ourselves along here. But we're going to have to now try and do it without the expenditure cap.
And I think, you know, the question remains unanswered whether we'll be successful.
Our commitment, and I think the commitment of the JUSSKCANZ countries and the European Union and the major contributors as a whole is to continue this effort.
VOINOVICH: So there is a strategy to continue to push, because I know that the European Union did not go along with disassociating, as you did, but I understand from talking to some of them that they are still very much in favor of reforms.
BOLTON: Yes, they are. And I think that commitment is even stronger now in a sense, because when they did dissociate, there wasn't any coinciding success that they could point to.
So the importance of achieving some of these objectives remains very high for them for exactly that reason.
VOINOVICH: Is there anything that this committee can do to be helpful to you? I know once we talked about the possibility of getting resolutions passed in various parliamentary groups, indicating how concerned we all were about the fact that reforms have been stymied.
BOLTON: I think that's a kind of idea that would still be worth pursuing if members of the committee are interested in doing it.
You know, I've had occasion when parliamentarians from other countries visit and their perm. reps invite me and others to come and speak to the visiting delegation.
I've been impressed with a number of these visiting delegations of parliamentarians how strongly they feel about U.N. reform, too, and their concern about where their contributions are being -- how they're being spent and whether they're being spent effectively.
So I think at the level of people who are actually elected by citizens, this concern is quite widespread. And I think it would send an important signal. I'd welcome any activity that the committee might be willing to undertake -- or individual members -- in that regard.
VOINOVICH: I understand that Mark Wallace is doing a great job up there?
BOLTON: He is, indeed.
VOINOVICH: I met with Mark. I was impressed. And, in fact, I understand he has put on a lot of weight attending...
BOLTON: Diplomatic lunches and dinners, absolutely.
VOINOVICH: And I just want to make it clear that, from what I understand, that you and your staff have made an attempt to do more outreach, which is one of my recommendations -- to get out there and meet these folks. And I want to express my gratitude for these efforts.
I'm very pleased to hear that there was more communication and outreach going on at the United Nations. And I really, sincerely hope that it will continue.
VOINOVICH: Last but not least, mandate review. The G-77's expressed its opposition to the review of almost 96 percent of the organization's mandates and also seems to oppose any kind of deadline for conducting a review.
I have personally spoken to the Canadians and the Pakistanis, who co-chair the committee on the mandate -- feel pretty bad that the Canadian is leaving. Was very impressed. I spent over a half an hour with him, a really a topnotch person, and probably some setback that he's walking away.
Will a Canadian take his place?
BOLTON: It has been decided by the president of the General Assembly that he'll be replaced by the Irish permanent representative, and he has already begun his work.
VOINOVICH: You want to comment on those negotiations and what chance do you think that we're going to make progress?
BOLTON: Well, the point that you made is a good example of some of the difficulties that we've had. In the outcome document in September of last year, the language we negotiated said that the mandate review would examine all mandates older than five years. And that's what it said, "all mandates older than five years," on the theory that that was a manageable undertaking, not really realizing then it would encompass something like 9,000 mandates.
But the G-77, after we agreed to that, interpreted that language as saying all mandates older than five years that have not been renewed within the last five years. And because General Assembly resolutions tend to repeat themselves and reaffirm other resolutions, it turned out that 93 percent of the mandates older than five years had been reaffirmed within the last five years, which meant, if you bought the G-77 interpretation, 150 heads of state...
VOINOVICH: Can I ask you something? Why is the G-77 doing what they're doing? Explain it to us.
BOLTON: I wish I could give you an answer that covered it completely, but I think in part because there's a level of satisfaction with the way things are going that says we don't really have a problem here, we don't really need the change, we're satisfied with the way things are, we're a little worried about what the differences might be.
We have made the argument to them that if we could make the U.N. stronger, more effective, more transparent, more efficient, that in a way it would be a strong inducement to the United States to turn to the U.N. more often for problem solving, but that the failure to make these reforms happen is an impediment to us doing that.
So that ironically, what we see is that many of the people, many of the governments most critical of the United States for not turning to the U.N. more often are exactly the governments that are standing in the way of reform.
We've tried to make the point that reform is in everybody's interest. This is not just a U.S. priority, this should be a priority for everybody, as it was on the management side with the secretary general.
I think the point is correct, and I think we need to keep making it because I'm hopeful we'll be persuasive.
COLEMAN: Senator Voinovich, your time is expired.
BOXER: Thank you very much.
Thanks, Mr. Bolton, for being here -- Mr. Ambassador.
I just want to talk about this particular argument that we're having over this nominee and whether to confirm him, because I think it's important to note that Senator Voinovich has changed his views, but he voted to bring this nomination to the floor. So it really hasn't changed in terms of this committee's vote, unless others have changed. And I really haven't talked to anybody else.
And I also want to make a comment about this argument that Senator Coleman makes about continuity. And I have to say this as clearly as I can.
I think this argument is reflective of a very weak and subservient Senate, because regardless of who is the president, be it a Republican or a Democrat, what kind of message are we sending?
Senator Dodd, in a very respectful and clear way, pointed out that the issues a lot of us had are still there.
Now, maybe Mr. Bolton would help us get the information we need, but as of -- maybe he's trying to; it's beyond his ability to deliver. But the fact is, this administration wants this particular candidate confirmed. We still haven't gotten the answers to our questions. The problems prevail. And now we're going to have another debate.
So here's the message: Continuity -- continuity. So it sends to any future, and certainly this administration, and, again, whether Democratic or Republican, simply pick whoever you want and then come back in a few months and argue continuity.
BOXER: I mean, what does this say about the balance of powers and the separation of powers?
So it goes beyond Ambassador Bolton. He's just a particular person now, that's caught up in this situation.
I want to talk about Iraq, because I'm very troubled by so many things that are happening there, in addition to the problems on the ground.
When you were asked by Senator Chafee, what's key to reshaping the Middle East, I thought you had a good answer. Your first response was we need countries there that are with us in the war against terror. They have to renounce terrorism.
And that goes, certainly, to what President Bush said right after 9/11, quote, he said, "All nations, if they want to fight terror, must do something. A coalition partner must do more than just express sympathy. They must perform. You're either with us, or against us in the fight against terror."
Now, let's remember that, because it's a very clear statement and a very forceful statement.
Now, we have spent hundreds of billions of dollars in Iraq, sacrifices are enormous, more than 19,000 now wounded, many of them severely wounded, and past 2,500 dead.
And we have, as your stated goal, that all our allies in the world who we're going to even have relationships, let alone give tens of billions of dollars -- hundreds of billions of dollars to -- have to renounce terror.
And we have the prime minister saying about the situation in Lebanon today, he called actions of Israel against Hezbollah, quote, "beyond a catastrophe. It violates everything the international community can be based on."
And he said he couldn't find any justification for what Israel is doing, and "further, we call on the world to take quick stance to stop the Israeli aggression," which our president has said very clearly what Israel is doing -- and we all, I think agree; I haven't heard anyone disagree -- taking on Hezbollah is defending herself.
And we all agree that Hezbollah is a force for terror.
So now we have this situation, and it's not as if this is just someone we have relationships -- this is someone who appears before a joint sessions and asks us for more and more money to rebuild, et cetera.
The monthly cost of the war has gone up to $8 billion. The estimated number of insurgents has gone from 3,000 to 20,000. Insurgent attacks have gone from five a day to 90 a day. Incidents of sectarian violence, which the prime minister never really referred to, have gone from five per month to 250 per month, and Iraqis optimistic about the future have gone down from 75 percent to 30 percent, and the prime minister can't use the word Hezbollah.
Some members met with him in private and I think, reading between the lines, he never said Hezbollah.
Now Tony Snow, the president's spokesman, when asked about it, said something to the effect of: Well, he's not our puppet.
But then why do we have to give them tens of billions of dollars, if the president's words mean anything when he said you're either with us or against us?
And then it goes further than that -- that's mild compared to the other part of the government, the speaker of the parliament over there in Iraq, who the president thought he had a nice relationship with -- and I'll quote from an article in The Review of Books, that I'll make part of the record if I might, Mr. Chairman.
LUGAR: Without objection.
BOXER: Thank you.
"Just this month," and this is the president speaking, the Sunni -- "I was impressed by the way -- by the speaker, Denny Hastert -- told me I'd like him. Denny met with him. And I was impressed with him. And I found him to be a hopeful person.
"They tell me that he wouldn't have taken my phone call a year ago. I think I might have shared this with you at one point in time. And there I was, sitting next to the guy, and I think he enjoyed it as much as I did. It was a refreshing moment."
Now this was a refreshing moment with this particular individual, and I'm going to get his quotes in a minute. Here it is.
This pleasant person who Denny Hastert liked, who the president enjoyed and was refreshing, said: "I personally think whoever kills an American soldier in defense of Iraq would have a statue built for him in that country."
"We know there was a corrupt regime in Saddam," he says. "But a regime should be removed by surgery, not by butchering. The U.S. occupation is butcher's work under the slogan of democracy and human rights and justice."
So this policy in Iraq, which my colleagues on the other side -- and not all of them; most of them -- always equate with the central war on terror has leaders in Iraq who won't condemn Hezbollah and, worse yet, condemn the country that's leading the fight against Hezbollah; call our soldiers butchers.
And it's no wonder we have a hard time winning support around the world, because our words don't mean anything.
Now, Mr. Bolton, this has nothing to do with you. I'm not putting this on you. As a matter of fact, I'm saying to you: You've got a tough job here.
But I don't know how we say that you're with us or against us in the war on terror, and then we sit quietly by and have a congressional address by someone who part of his government called our soldiers butchers -- 19,000 of whom are coming back deeply wounded; a third of whom are coming back with post-traumatic stress; 2,500 will never come back.
Our foreign policy is hollow. And it just doesn't pass the test.
And I want to change the subject from Iraq, because I want to ask you about Darfur, because I can't pin any of what I said on you and I don't intend to.
BOXER: I want to talk to you about Darfur, because I know you believe it's a tragedy going on over there, and I'm sure that you have said, and I just want to make sure you've said that is, in fact, a genocide, would you agree with that, going on...
BOLTON: I did earlier this morning, yes.
BOXER: Thank you for that. I think that's very important.
Well, I want you to help me with something, since we haven't ever really worked together. Maybe this gives us a chance.
We heard that you had another engagement and you couldn't go over to an important conference. And I've seen the list of who went from other countries. Most of them sent their number one, like you would have been the number one, or their number two. We sent number three.
But I'll put that aside, because I want to tell you that many of us have been calling for a special envoy. And Senator Murkowski, Lisa Murkowski and I got together and thought, we need some emissaries. This would be short of an envoy, this would be people who would just care about this issue from morning, noon to night, go around the world, get this issue before the world, get countries to step up to the plate and give their contributions, help put pressure on other countries.
It would really help you do your work, because, as you said, we're having trouble getting our policy through.
So quickly let me tell you what we did. We sent a letter to the president on May 30, this is bipartisan, Lisa Murkowski and myself:
"Genocide in Darfur has resulted in an estimated 400,000 deaths, displacement of 2.5 million people. We share your view, Mr. President, that American cannot turn away from this tragedy.
"Two of Dr. Martin Luther King's children, Bernice King and Martin Luther King III, have generously embraced the idea of serving your administration in a way that would heighten worldwide awareness of the tragedy, compel foreign governments to increase aid, and bring hope to those who are suffering.
"We appreciate Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick's tireless efforts to address this crisis. It is our hope that Bernice and Martin, as U.S. special emissaries, can complement the important work being done."
I was so excited with this.
So that was May 30th. So we get a letter back several months later.
Do you have a copy of that letter, because I put it somewhere? Thank you.
On June 13th. So that was fine, three weeks later, although I had personal conversations with people to try and move it ahead.
And this is what it says: "On behalf of the president, thank you for recommending Bernice King and Martin Luther King for appointment as U.S. special emissaries to Darfur. So that we have the appropriate background and contact information, please have Mr. and Ms. King complete the presidential personnel application located at www.whitehouse.gov. We appreciate your recommendation. We're always searching for people."
I am perplexed at this. It seems like it's being treated as if it's just some other application by someone who wants to intern at the White House.
So I went up on www.whitehouse.gov, and I came back with 10 pages. And I can tell you that Lisa Murkowski and I really wanted this to happen and we were excited about it.
Would you help us here? Would you see if you can contact Liza Wright, assistant to the president for personnel, and see if perhaps we can get a little bit of a higher level interest in what we think, Senator Murkowski and I, is a good idea to show the world how important it is. Martin Luther King's children I think would send a very strong signal.
BOLTON: Well, I will certainly do that, and also talk to the people at State to whom that letter probable should have been directed. Obviously, it didn't get to the right place. But I appreciate your interest in the subject, and it's a serious one. We do take it extremely seriously, and I will pursue this letter.
BOXER: Thank you very much.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
COLEMAN: Thanks, Senator Boxer.
MARTINEZ: Thank you, sir.
Ambassador Bolton, welcome back. I'm very proud to have staunchly supported your nomination by President Bush, and I continue to do so. More reassured now, not only by the need for continuity, which I think is an important circumstance, but really more important than that, by what has been your performance.
I think, first of all, you have been a resolute and clear spokesperson to advance the president's foreign policy. And at the time we have only one president, we have only one foreign policy. It is this president's foreign policy. And you've been an astute and strong advocate for that.
Secondly, I also want to commend you for your very strong efforts and your performance on the issue of United Nations reform. It is, indeed, necessary for the world. We need a strong United Nations. And your efforts in that regard, incomplete as they are, but ought to be commended for the way in which you've handled that.
And thirdly, I want to again commend you for your performance in the way that you've conducted yourself personally. I think you've been someone that I think our nation can be proud of in the way in which you've handled yourself. And I think many of those who questioned many things about you personally, questions that I didn't share, should be now more than laid to rest by what has been, I think, a sterling diplomatic performance by you in the time that you've been in the United Nations.
Let me ask you now on substance a couple of questions. One is on the issue of the Middle East, that very troubled region. And I know that one of the new things for which perhaps some would suggest your confirmation might not be appropriate is the issue of United Nations Resolution 1559.
Perhaps you could enlighten us by a little bit of the history of that resolution, when it came about. Was it under your tenure that it was negotiated? Or, if not, what you've done in terms of advancing that. While at the same time, what difficulties are there in the implementation of 1559?
In other words, is it the blame of the United States representative to the United Nations that that resolution has failed in its implementation or are there other actors and players who would have a greater share of responsibility for its failure in implementation over the last year or two?
BOLTON: Thank you, Senator.
1559, as I think I mentioned, was adopted by a vote of 9-0-6 -- Russia and China and Algeria, which was then a member of the Security Council, being three of the countries that abstained.
BOLTON: So what that indicated was that it passed only very narrowly. But, in response to the outcry over the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri and the determination expressed in demonstrations in Beirut and elsewhere that the Lebanese people wanted to have an independent government, independent of Syria -- independent, democratic government.
The difficulties that have attended the implementation in full of 1559 have been largely because the government of Syria has not complied with the resolution in case after case after case. They have withdrawn, almost entirely, their military as 1559 required. But there are many other aspects where they've not.
And it has been a continued subject of our efforts, both in the Security Council and elsewhere, to push for 1559 being fully complied with.
And I would also, there, link Resolution 1595, which created the independent international investigatory commission to help the Lebanese government investigate the Hariri assassination -- another situation where the government of Syria has failed to comply fully.
So our efforts, both in the Security Council and elsewhere, have largely focused on this intransigence on the part of Syria, their unwillingness to go ahead, because to do so would mean they would have to give up their control over Hezbollah.
Hezbollah would have to make the choice that it would be a legitimate political party; give up its military capability; and thus dramatically reduce, if not eliminate, Syrian influence inside Lebanon.
So to the extent that countries like Iran, in particular, continue to support Syria and its intransigence, and to the extent that other members of the Perm 5 aren't fully onboard, that remains a problem.
But I think this is one of the areas where, incomplete though it is, this is a representation of what can be done in the Security Council with American leadership and with the close cooperation of our allies, particularly France and also with the United Kingdom.
MARTINEZ: Just one more comment on the Middle East. You were also asked about shaping of the Middle East -- words that were not used by you, but which I'm sure we all share in the desire to shape the Middle East.
And would it not be essential for there to be a future peace in the Middle East for all the actors and players to recognize Israel's right to exist in peace?
BOLTON: That's an absolute fundamental.
BOLTON: And it was on the basis of that acknowledgement, that recognition, that Israel was able to achieve peace with both Egypt and Jordan over a long number of years.
Syrian occupation of Lebanon prevented reconciliation with Lebanon, and Syria itself remains, at least among those states bordering Israel, the principal holdout.
But certainly, one of the objectives I think we should all be seeking here, given the turmoil in southern Lebanon, is that we come to a situation where the implementation of 1559 and the extension of full control over Lebanese territory by a democratic government provides the basis on which Lebanon and Israel can reach a peace agreement.
And that would leave us with Syria, among the directly bordering countries, but also, obviously, with Iran which, at a distance, remains implacably opposed to Israel; their president having recently called for Israel to be wiped off the map.
But these are all important steps in getting to that ultimate objective.
MARTINEZ: In the interest of my time remaining, I want to just simply mention my commendation and congratulations to you for your role in the very important resolution that the Security Council passed under your leadership, condemning North Korea in a 15-0 vote which I think, in today's climate and in recent history, to do that I think is a major accomplishment and I commend you for your success in that, which I think also should be a proud part of your performance at the U.N.
Speak if you will, for me, on the issue of humanitarian assistance to the people of Lebanon. We all are saddened by the destruction and the human suffering there, as we are by the suffering in Israel as well, particularly in the city of Haifa, where we see destruction and death and maiming and sadness.
How will we collaborate on that? And if you've already touched on that, maybe I'll just move on to something else.
BOLTON: Well, two things. We have authorized the provision of some $30 million in assistance.
But, more broadly, we're now working in New York, in the Security Council and in the region -- Secretary Rice has been leading this as well -- to establish conditions under which humanitarian assistance can be provided to Lebanon: through humanitarian corridors, such as have been suggested by the U.N. secretariat, accepted by Israel, obviously accepted by Lebanon as well.
We need to, having achieved the political agreement on this, need now to implement it. And we're working on that both in New York and in other agencies of the U.S. government as well to get that humanitarian assistance in even as the hostilities continue.
MARTINEZ: The Human Rights Council of the United Nations was reshaped. I know we were not happy with the outcome.
Can you tell us your vision of what would be an appropriate Human Rights Council? What it is that we're trying to achieve on a Human Rights Council? And what is the outlook for true reforms of this body that could really include an agenda that's vigorous and that, perhaps, does not include in the membership some of the very culprits of the most serious human rights abuses in the world?
BOLTON: Well, it was the failure of the resolution that created this new Human Rights Council to really achieve the central objective that we sought, which was reshaping the membership of the council, that led us to vote against it.
We did not think that the resolution creating the new council really did enough to keep some of the worst abusers of human rights off the council. And not just the worst abusers, but countries that didn't really share the commitment we and many other developed countries had to using the Human Rights Council as an effective instrument on a country-specific basis.
We did not achieve the objective of getting a requirement that members to the council be elected by a two-thirds vote of the General Assembly. We were not able to persuade others that it ought to be an automatic disqualification against serving on the Human Rights Council for any country under Security Council sanctions for human rights violations or support for terrorism.
We could not persuade a majority of the countries to accept even that.
And I think the consequence of those decisions and a variety of others meant that the mechanisms for selection of members to the new council were not going to be sufficiently different from the old commission.
BOLTON: That's why we voted against it.
We are continuing to work on human rights. We've tried to work, even though not a member of this council, to try and make it a success. I've noted in my prepared remarks that we're disappointed at the early returns. We're going to continue to work, but we've not made a decision, ourselves, whether to try and seek election to the new council next year or not.
MARTINEZ: I see my time is up. I just want to thank you for your continued desire to serve. And having sat in those chairs while members of the Senate come and go, I understand what a long morning it can be.
So I appreciate your time and your willingness to serve our nation.
BOLTON: Thank you, Senator.
COLEMAN: Thank you, Senator Martinez.
NELSON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Welcome, Mr. Ambassador.
BOLTON: Thank you.
NELSON: In the resolution that Senator Martinez was referring that was passed with regard to North Korea, did it include economic sanctions under Chapter 7?
BOLTON: Under our definition, not sanctions as directed against the economic activity broadly in North Korea. But it did contain two requirements on all member governments that they not cooperate in any way with not only the North Korean ballistic missile program, but also its nuclear, biological and chemical weapons program, that governments neither supply those programs nor procure from those programs.
That is a form of sanctions, but it was mostly intended not to impose economic pressure on North Korea, but to cut off those weapons programs from outside assistance.
NELSON: Did the United States, going in, try to get the Chapter 7 sanctions?
BOLTON: We did not. Those provisions, plus the requirement that North Korea suspend all of its ballistic missile activity were the principal objectives we started out with. And we achieved those.
NELSON: But Japan was asking for economic sanctions, so it didn't include what Japan wanted.
BOLTON: One of their original thoughts -- I mean, I'm sure you do remember in the July 5th; indeed, during the say on July the 4th, our time July the 4th, July 5th in the Pacific -- I was on the phone probably a dozen times with my Japanese counterpart trying to share information with him about these ballistic missile launches as they took place.
And he and his government were considering a variety of things, as was our government. So we looked at a whole range of things when we went in.
BOLTON: When we went in. That's a little distracting, I suppose. Senator...
NELSON: I've seen a lot of things to interpose in between...
BOLTON: I'm not responsible for this.
I might say, I'm not responsible for this.
NELSON: To interpose in between the questions and the witnesses, but I've never seen this...
BOLTON: This is a form of transparency, I suppose. Senator, we, being...
NELSON: I'm glad that's not right over here.
BOLTON: Well, it's right in the middle. I suppose that's the best it could be.
COLEMAN: Senators, we'll have the ambassador respond to this question and then we'll suspend for a couple of minutes so we get a sense of what's going on here.
But, Ambassador Bolton, you can finish your response.
BOLTON: It's certainly the case, Senator. We considered a number of possible options and, in close consultation with Japan, came to the conclusion that we would proceed with a resolution along the lines that they took the lead on.
NELSON: This is not going to distract me, if it's all right with you. We'll...
BOLTON: I'm fine, Senator.
Let's go. As long as we can keep the buckets coming, the hearing can proceed.
NELSON: All right. Well, those two buckets are going to get the most of them.
Well, just the day before, going back to this same matter, on July the 14th, the day before the Security Council acted, you said that the United States continued to insist on a resolution under Chapter 7. And that, of course, would have made the sanctions mandatory for the U.N. member-states.
BOLTON: But, Senator, I would just say, before we get rained out...
... the purpose of a Chapter 7 resolution is not necessarily only sanctions. Chapter 7 is the chapter of the U.N. Charter that deals with the Security Council's special responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. And resolutions under Chapter 7 are deemed binding on all members.
That's what we wanted. And it's our judgment that that's what we achieved, even though there's not a specific reference to Chapter 7 in the text of the resolution. Because you have to look at the entire text of a resolution, not necessarily a few specific words.
NELSON: Well, I just want to clarify the record here, because on that date, you stressed the importance, and I quote, "of a clear, binding Chapter 7 resolution that" -- continuing the quote -- "that remains our view and the view of Japan."
And then you went on to warn that, quote, "if there is to be a veto, there comes a time when countries have to go into that chamber and raise their hand," end of quote.
Do you want to square that with what happened here?
BOLTON: Right. The final text of the resolution does not include a reference to Chapter 7 as such. There's no question about that. But it was our judgment, the judgment of the French, the British, the Japanese and other delegations that in fact you don't need to use those precise words to get a binding resolution.
And that's how we construe it. And we made that explanation -- we went through that analysis in our respective explanations of vote.
NELSON: All right, Mr. Chairman, I'm going to ask just on one more subject, and then I'll stop. I know you've been here a long time, and I appreciate that.
With regard to Iran, two months ago, Russia and China had blocked action in the U.N. against Iran's nuclear program. And in deference to the Russian and Chinese concerns, the United States and the European Union agreed to give diplomacy another chance, even though we've seen dragging-their-feet Iran.
It has been stated by administration officials that Russia and China had promised that they would at least back some of the limited U.N. measures against Iran, if Tehran balked at the negotiations.
And you said, and I quote, "If the Security Council can't deal with something like the Iranian nuclear weapons program, then it's hard to imagine what circumstances the U.N. Charter contemplated the council would be involved in."
That's something that you had said.
And, of course, we know the timeline.
NELSON: Early March, the issue was referred to the U.N. Security Council by the IAEA. And the deadline expires on July 12th, when Iran was supposed to respond, and they don't respond. And Iran says they're going to respond by August the 22nd.
Now, many of us have been calling for the Security Council action on Iran for a long time. And your work at the U.N. Security Council is an integral part of the international effort to stop Iran's nuclear program.
Secretary Rice was able to get the Chinese and the Russians to support an international offer of incentives and disincentives, but it appears that there isn't any progress on a meaningful resolution at the U.N. Security Council, a resolution that calls on the Iranians to stop enriching uranium, without any teeth, to this senator is meaningless.
And you have the reputation as being the tough, tough guy, who can solve these issues. And yet, it seems like the Russians and the Chinese are getting their way with you.
So if you would please respond: Is the U.S. going to settle for a resolution on Iran that does not include the sanctions under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter?
BOLTON: Senator, what the foreign ministers of the five Permanent Members and Germany agreed to in Paris a couple of weeks ago was a two-step process in the Security Council. The first step would be a resolution that would make mandatory the requirement that Iran suspend all of its uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing activities and give the Iranians some period of time, let's say a month, within which they had to come into compliance with the resolution.
That was step one.
Step two, if the Iranians failed to do that, then the next step would be to go to economic sanctions, which we would have to discuss at that point.
We are, I judge, very close to agreement on a resolution that would embody the first step. In fact, Tuesday night, we had agreement among the five Permanent Representatives in New York. Obviously we had to go back to our capitals to get final approval on it.
But we thought we had it. And it turned out yesterday, we did not.
I'm hoping that we can either wrap that up today, depending on how long your hearing goes on, we might be able to wrap it up today or certainly Ambassador Sanders is continuing to work on it.
But I think we're very close on that first resolution, the first of the two steps.
But it is very important that we make it clear to Iran and to all U.N. members that that requirement for suspension of uranium enrichment activities be binding. And that is our intention; that's the intention of what we call the E.U.-3 countries. And we're very firm in that resolve.
NELSON: And of course our hope clearly is that you're going to get this agreement quick, because in the meantime, they continue to reprocess uranium.
BOLTON: There's no doubt the Iranians over the last three years have used diplomatic negotiations as a cover under which they have advanced their mastery over the entire nuclear fuel cycle.
And I think that's one reason why we do feel a sense of urgency about that, that it's important we try and get the maximum pressure we can on Iran, if they choose not to accept this very generous offer that the E.U.-3 and the rest of us have made to them.
So it's an extremely serious problem. There's just no doubt it.
NELSON: I want you to get tough with the Chinese and the Russians.
BOLTON: I will be pleased to carry out that instruction, Senator.
NELSON: Thank you.
COLEMAN: Thank you, Senator Nelson.
OBAMA: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Sorry for the distraction here.
BOLTON: It's coming in my direction, too.
OBAMA: I will try to make my questions brief. I know...
NELSON: Let's hope it's rain water and not something else.
OBAMA: Thank you for pointing that out, Senator Nelson.
With that encouragement, let me proceed.
You know, last year, Mr. Bolton, we had a hearing in October and we talked a little bit about the use of voluntary financing as opposed to mandatory assessments as a tool to extract cooperation at the U.N. And you mentioned two examples, UNDP and UNICEF, as being effective organizations in part because they function as voluntary agencies.
And when we start talking about our budget requests, last year, they had cut funding for these two programs, despite the fact that you had pointed up that they were effective, because voluntary or voluntarily financed.
And you said, I'm quoting here, "I certainly intend to get into it in the next budget cycle. I think it can give us a lot of assistance and provide argument for other countries to show that this is not simply a charade behind which we want to reduce budgetary contributions, but a way in which we want to more sensibly contribute to agencies that are effective."
I'm looking at the fiscal year 2007 budget request. You've been in New York a year, so presumably you've had something -- I just felt something coming down on me. I'm going to scoot over here.
NELSON: You can come over and sit with me, Senator.
OBAMA: But here's the thing: This year's budget request seems to contain a similar result, which is a cut to UNICEF and UNDP. So I'm wondering if you can explain that and how you're thinking about it.
And I'm going to move way down here.
BOLTON: Although my last name is Bolton, it's spelled T-O-N and not T-E-N. I was not director of OMB at the time. And there are a lot of factors that go into budget decisions. And it's simply -- it's a fact of life in budget decisions that you can't meet all of your priorities.
But I would say that the question of assessed versus voluntary contributions as a mechanism of funding and as of possible greater utility to the United States is still something that we're looking at.
BOLTON: We have not concluded our review in that regard in part because we've been consumed with the mandate review and the management reform processes.
But these remain important areas of concern for us.
OBAMA: I guess the problem that I have, and we had this exchange before: The broader context of the debate between mandatory and voluntary dues has to do with the degree to which we feel that we are exerting leverage over an organization that we think is sometimes dysfunctional, and the possibility of earmarking, essentially, our dollars to areas where we feel we've got some confidence.
But isn't it important to our diplomatic efforts on the U.N. reform issue that we recognize that -- let me ask the question this way: If we are consistently cutting our budget at the same time as we are demanding reforms, aren't we, to some degree, undermining our leverage precisely at a time when we'd like to expand it?
It seems to me that it actually hampers or hamstrings your ability to gain credibility with the other potential partners in reform?
BOLTON: Well, I think one of the things that we are doing is expanding our voluntary contributions in some other areas -- for example, in the U.N. Democracy Fund, which is a new initiative, an initiative of the president. We're supplying $18 million out of the $49 million that are currently in the fund, and we've put up additional money in the area of HIV/AIDS and the U.N.-AIDS Program, which is essentially voluntarily funded.
So the record may not be entirely perfect, I grant you that. But in several critical respects, we have increased our voluntary funding along the lines that you suggest.
OBAMA: Just to follow up on the issue of reform. There have been some reports that we have allied diplomats -- countries that at least say they're interested in reform -- that would indicate that there are still concerns that you have a tendency to produce amendments and demands at the 11th hour, pushing to reopen negotiations that have been painfully concluded, World Summit outcome document, Human Rights Council.
And I'm wondering -- maybe you've already commented on this -- but I'm just curious as to why we're getting those reports. Is it your assertion that these are simply recalcitrant countries that don't want reform? Or what do you think accounts for that -- I mean, when you've got 30 ambassadors, all of whom say they share the U.S. goals of management reform, expressing some misgivings about your leadership?
BOLTON: Yes -- 30 anonymous ambassadors.
I did mention it before you came in.
OBAMA: And I apologize.
OBAMA: I haven't been here the whole time. So I don't want to...
BOLTON: I understand.
A number of ambassadors came to me after that article appeared and said they thought it was outrageous, that they couldn't understand why the reporter hadn't talked to them.
But I don't think that's the measure. I respect the other ambassadors. I deal with them on a professional basis. I think they deal with me on a professional basis.
I would like to just comment on one point, though, and that's this notion about coming in at the last minute with amendments and whatnot.
You mentioned the outcome document from the September summit. And you know, that was a situation when I came in where the U.S. had been pressing a large number of amendments for quite some time, very similar to the amendments that I circulated.
But because of the way the negotiations were being conducted, those amendments were not being accepted. The real change that I made was moving away from the so-called facilitator process, where you sort of submit your amendments and hope the facilitator writes them in, to a process of direct international negotiation.
And I'd ask, Mr. Chairman, with your permission, I just want to read one paragraph from a letter written to Chairman Lugar by Thomas Schweich, who's currently the principal deputy assistant secretary for international narcotics and law enforcement matters.
Tom Schweich was at USUN when I arrived on August 1st. He's a former chief of staff to Senator John Danforth, who was the PERM REP before me.
And it's a nice letter. I'm only going to read one paragraph that deals with the outcome document.
OBAMA: Go ahead.
BOLTON: As I say, Tom Schweich was there from the time Senator Danforth arrived until I arrived, and stayed on until he came down to the department.
And the letter from Tom Schweich says, and I quote, "While Ambassador Bolton received a good deal of media criticism for allegedly trying to, quote, 'change the deal,' close quote, at the last minute with respect to the terms of the outcome document drafted for the World Summit on U.N. Reform in 2005, this criticism is without merit.
"In fact, Ambassador Bolton did nothing more than make public and transparent a lengthy series of objections that the State Department had raised and had been negotiating for several months prior to Ambassador Bolton's arrival."
BOLTON: I had been personally and directly involved in those negotiations. So that's where this started, with the outcome document. You know, some reporters said 400 amendment. Some reporters said 700. I don't know how many there were.
But they were, essentially, elaborations of changes to this document that had been advocated by the United States long before my arrival.
What I found -- the change that I did make was that we abandoned this so-called facilitator process, where the facilitator listens to all the delegations and takes suggestions in and then does his or her best to reflect what they think the direction of the negotiations is going.
I felt that was inadequate. I did not think the United States was getting the best outcome from the facilitator method. And I asked -- and there was widespread support for, and we did then move to a model, direct government-government negotiations, which is how the final outcome document was ultimately produced.
OBAMA: Having been there for a year -- and this is, sort of, an open-ended question -- what do you think is the single biggest impediment to the lack of progress that's been made in terms of some of the reforms that have been discussed?
BOLTON: I think that Paul Volcker really had an important insight -- and I've mentioned this earlier, but I think it bears repeating -- when he said to this committee last year that he thought that the basic lesson he drew from his lengthy investigation into the oil-for-food scandal was not just the problems that existed in the oil-for-food scandal but that those problems emanated from practices and policies deeply embedded in the U.N. itself and that reform required, not just addressing the more superficial aspects of the oil- for-food scandal but involved addressing more fundamental aspects of the U.N. as well.
And for him, the underlying foundation of that problem was what he called the "culture of inaction." And I think that, until we really are able to make progress on that, that many of the specific reforms that we propose will really not have a lasting difference.
BOLTON: They are important to pursue. We will continue to pursue them.
But when Secretary Rice called for a lasting revolution of reform -- you know, I've joked with people that it's not often you hear a secretary of state call for revolution -- but it is important in this context. Reform is not something you do on one day and then you say, well, we're finished with that; do we move on to something else?
You have to have making the organization more effective and more efficient a constant priority. And I think that is a view I've developed over 25 years of watching and participating in U.N.-related matters; and the past year has only confirmed that in my mind.
I think that's the most fundamental obstacle we face, as identified by Paul Volcker.
OBAMA: Mr. Chairman, am I out of time?
COLEMAN: Your time has expired, Senator Obama.
OBAMA: I know that I'm the last guy and it's raining in here, but can I ask one last question?
OBAMA: Mr. Bolton, sorry to keep you, but I did want to ask specifically about the situation in Darfur. And I know that somebody else has already asked the question. And let me stipulate that the administration has done more than our European allies, and this administration's record has shown genuine concern for the situation there.
Having said that, we still see a continuing deterioration in the situation. Bob Zoellick's not going to be playing the leadership role that he was playing.
OBAMA: We don't seem to be making much progress with the Chinese, Russians or Sudanese in standing up a U.N. force. Fighting between the main factions has been intensified, and there doesn't seem to be any strong follow-up on DPA.
So I'm wondering, specifically, what is your office doing at this stage to move us off the status quo, which I fear may end up deteriorating even further and resulting in a situation that, if we're not already ashamed of what's happening there, we'll be even more ashamed of.
COLEMAN: This will be the last response.
BOLTON: I agree that the Darfur peace agreement is in jeopardy. I think it's in jeopardy for a variety of reasons, having to do with the politics in the region, the attitude of the government of Sudan and a variety of other factors.
And that, to us, underlines the importance of re-hatting the African Union force, the AMIS mission in Sudan, as rapidly as possible, because if the protections that a new U.N. force can provide do not get into place quickly and if in the interim, however long that interim is, we don't strengthen existing AMIS capabilities, that will increase the risk that the DPA will break down. I don't think there's any question about that.
We have faced intransigence on the part of the government of Sudan, despite decisions by the Council on Peace and Security of the African Union, despite repeated decisions, despite the decision of the African Union in summit recently in Banjul, despite commitments made by the government of Sudan previously, they continue to say they will not accept a U.N. force in Darfur.
That has ripple effects with potential troop contributing countries that worry about the situation into which their troops would be deployed. It has ramifications in the council, when people are reluctant to move up with the kind of expedition that we need to within the secretariat and how quickly they are able to proceed.
It's a situation we worry about. My office, the Military Staff Committee office, the uniformed officers who serve as USUN with support from the Pentagon, which has sent up logisticians and planners to help out, have been pushing this with the greatest possible force.
But the difficulties remain. And we are quite concerned if we don't expedite this, we're going to face difficulty.
OBAMA: I know my time is up. Let me just say that I know that you have a lot on your plate. I would like to see some sense of urgency and focused attention. We know Sudan is going to be recalcitrant and intransigent.
And so, precisely for that reason, I think it's important that we use some of our diplomatic skills and apply them, to pressure some of the others who are supporting Sudan. And I'm not sure we've used all of our diplomatic cards on this one.
COLEMAN: The senator's time has expired. Thank you.
KERRY: Thank you. I know all the comments have been made about the flood here, so I won't make any more.
I apologize for being delayed. We had a mark-up in the Small Business Committee, and as ranking member, I had to be there.
I heard a few of the questions from my office, and obviously I don't want to go over territory that's been well-covered, Mr. Ambassador, so I want to just have a chance to be able to pursue a few things with you.
I did hear in answer to one question from somebody, I think it was from the chair, that your views about the U.N. itself have not changed.
And so I'd just be curious to sort of -- what are those views at this point? I mean there was a lot of debate here, if you'll recall, about what those views were, and I'd just be curious to know what conclusions you've drawn about the U.N. at this point in time.
BOLTON: I think his question was what did I find at the U.N. that I had not expected. And I think my response was "very little," because I have studied and worked in U.N. matters for 25 years.
And I'm sure there are things I don't know, but I've worked in the area for a long time.
My views are, as I said in my opening statement in April of last year, that we are committed to a strong and effective United Nations. To do that, it requires substantial reform. That it can be an effective adjunct of American foreign policy; I think it's been demonstrated in a variety of areas that we've discussed here today in the context of Lebanon, North Korea and Iran. And that that's why we're exerting the efforts that we are within the Security Council on a variety of substantive policy matters and on the question of U.N. reform.
KERRY: You say that to be effective it requires reform. What is the principal reform that is required for the U.N. itself to be effective with respect to Iran or with respect to North Korea or Resolution 1559 in Lebanon? What reform would make a difference to that effectiveness?
BOLTON: I'm not sure that reform as such would have a difference there. That is more a question in the Security Council of reaching policy agreement among the 15 members of the council and particularly the PERM 5.
KERRY: And isn't it fair to say that we're sort of the odd person out on most of those policies?
BOLTON: I wouldn't say that, no.
KERRY: Well, with respect to North Korea, let's look at that for a minute. Russia and the South Koreans were unwilling to join us, isn't that correct, with respect to the sanction effort?
BOLTON: That's clearly not correct, because they did. And in fact, we worked very closely with the Russians in the negotiation, 11 days of very intense negotiation to get Resolution 1695, and worked very closely with the Republic of Korea's mission to the U.N. to get their agreement to the resolution, as well.
KERRY: I beg to differ with you, Mr. Ambassador.
They didn't get on board a tough Chapter 7 resolution, did they? That was our position.
BOLTON: They got on board a resolution which is binding, as our judgment is binding under Chapter 7, that's correct.
KERRY: They didn't get on a tough resolution 7, did they -- Chapter 7?
BOLTON: Yes, they did.
KERRY: They did?
BOLTON: We believe this resolution is binding under Chapter 7. It does not contain the words "Chapter 7," but our conclusion is based on the entire wording of the resolution that it imposes binding constraints on North Korea. Other member governments -- that's the interpretation of Britain, France and Japan and the other four cosponsors as well.
KERRY: Prior to the adoption, speaking to reporters on July 6th, you said, quote, "I think it's important that the Security Council speak under Chapter 7 to make a binding resolution." Is that correct?
BOLTON: That's correct.
KERRY: Then on July 14th, just a day before they acted, you said you continued to insist on a resolution under Chapter 7 which would make any sanctions mandatory.
KERRY: You stressed the importance of a, quote, "clear, binding Chapter 7 resolution. That remains our view and the view of Japan." You went so far as to warn that if there's to be a veto, there comes a time when countries have to go into that chamber and raise their hand.
That's not what happened, is it?
BOLTON: As I said before, it's our judgment this is a mandatory resolution.
KERRY: But the judgment -- but it's not the way it's viewed by the other parties.
BOLTON: It's viewed that way by Japan, England and France.
KERRY: Well, the Russians certainly aren't prepared to join in it, nor are the...
BOLTON: They voted for it.
KERRY: But not in its clarity.
I mean, Assistant Secretary Hill's testimony before this committee last week said that the administration's strategy on North Korea is shifting from failed negotiations to sanctions.
And since you don't have Russia, you don't have China and you don't have South Korea on the binding resolution, how are you going to do that?
BOLTON: I think we do.
You know, what the resolution says, Senator, is the Security Council demands -- that includes Russia and China -- the Security Council demands that the DPRK suspend all activity related to its ballistic missile programs -- demands.
And you know what North Korea did? You know what they thought of that resolution? They sat there in the council chamber and, after we voted to adopt it, they rejected it and got up and walked out of the council chamber.
I think that resolution had a clear effect on North Korea.
KERRY: What was the effect?
BOLTON: That they understand how isolated they are. And you'll note that, as reported in the papers the other day, the government of China has begun to take steps with respect to North Korean banking, which is consistent with operative paragraphs 3 and 4 of the resolution that require -- "require" is the word we use -- the Security Council requires that all U.N. member-governments cease their procurement from or supply to any of North Korea's programs relating to ballistic missiles or weapons of mass destruction.
KERRY: Well, let's come back to be precise, because this is a precise world we live in. It is accurate -- I have the resolution right in front of me. It says, "demands that the DPRK suspend all activities related to its ballistic missile program," but it doesn't impose Chapter 7 sanctions.
BOLTON: We didn't seek to impose Chapter 7 sanctions.
KERRY: Well, how are you going to achieve this if you're not going to have sanctions if you don't have the other countries prepared to have the sanctions? The reason you don't have sanctions...
BOLTON: Because the first...
KERRY: ... is they weren't prepared to do it; isn't that correct?
BOLTON: No, because that was not part of our original resolution. The first step here was to pass this resolution which says...
KERRY: You're telling me they would be prepared to impose sanctions?
BOLTON: You know, Senator, we had consultations with Japan and the United Kingdom and France about how to approach this resolution. And as I mentioned earlier today, there were a variety of different steps that we could have taken. It was our judgment that the best way to proceed was along the lines that are now embodied in Resolution 1695.
That is certainly not to say that the council might not take other steps in the future. But the steps we sought to take we have now taken, unanimously.
KERRY: Well, you're losing me a little bit because, I mean, North Korea defied the world's request not to test an intercontinental missile. If ever there was a moment -- you are the ones who said you wanted sanctions but were unable to get Russia and others to sign onto that concept.
BOLTON: Senator, we said we wanted what we got.
KERRY: Well, the most that you seem to want is to go back to a six-party talk that isn't in existence.
BOLTON: No, no, quite the contrary. We said expressly...
KERRY: Are you prepared to go to bilateral talks?
BOLTON: Quite the contrary. We said expressly that what we wanted from North Korea was not simply a return to the six-party talks, but an implementation of the September 2005 joint statement from the six-party talks which would mean their dismantlement of their nuclear weapons program.
KERRY: But this has been going on for five years, Mr. Ambassador.
BOLTON: It's the nature of multilateral negotiations, Senator.
KERRY: Why not engage in a bilateral one and get the job done? That's what the Clinton administration did.
BOLTON: Very poorly, since the North Koreans violated the agreed framework almost from the time it was signed. And I would also say, Senator, that we do have the opportunity for bilateral negotiations with North Korea in the context of the six-party talks, if North Korea would come back to them.
KERRY: Mr. Ambassador, at the time -- Secretary Perry has testified before this committee, as well as others -- they knew that there would be the probability they would try to do something outside of the specificity of the agreement.
But the specificity of the agreement was with respect to the rods and the inspections and the television cameras and the reactor itself.
BOLTON: Senator, the agreed framework requires North Korea and South Korea to comply with the joint North-South denuclearization agreement, which in turn provides no nuclear weapons programs on the Korean Peninsula.
So it was not limited only to the plutonium reprocessing program.
KERRY: Mr. Ambassador, the bottom line is that no plutonium was reprocessed under that agreement. No plutonium was reprocessed until the cameras were kicked out, the inspectors were kicked out, the rods were taken out, and now they have four times the nuclear weapons they had when you came on watch.
BOLTON: Because the North Koreans...
KERRY: The question here is -- I mean, a whole host of people have testified before this committee and others.
I mean, my objection is that if you look at the policies across the board, and we're not going to resolve it here now, obviously, I understand that.
KERRY: But here's another good reason to think about this.
It's hard to pick up the newspaper today, it's hard to talk to any leader anywhere in the world, it's hard to travel abroad as a senator and not run headlong into the isolation of the United States and the divisions that exist between us and our allies on any number of different issues.
Now, it is very hard to sit here and say that the six-party talks have been a success.
BOLTON: I don't believe I've said that.
KERRY: I know. I didn't suggest you have. But what I'm trying to get at is the policy foundation itself -- why insist on a six-party talk process which, it seems to me, never joins the fundamental issues between the United States and North Korea, which go back a long, long time, over Republican and Democratic administrations?
BOLTON: I think the reason for that is that the disagreement is not fundamentally a bilateral disagreement between North Korea and the United States. It's a disagreement between North Korea and everybody else about their pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability.
And the aspect of the six-party talks that we think was most important was not negotiating over the head of South Korea, which was the consequence of the agreed framework, but bringing in all of the regional partners, South Korea, Japan, Russia and China, to address this question collectively, since it was in all of our interests to do so.
KERRY: Most of the people that I've talked to spent a lot of time in various thoughtful institutions thinking about these issues -- a career -- believe that what North Korea wants more than anything is an assurance that the United States of America wasn't going to have a strategy similar to Iraq directed at them.
And I think the assurance most people have suggested that if there were to be some kind of bilateral discussion to get at the issues between the two of us, you'd have far more opportunity to get at the nuclear issue than you do through these stand-off, nonexistent six-party talks that have produced nothing over five and a half years.
KERRY: Why is the administration so unwilling to talk to Syria, talk to even pursue these issues? It doesn't seem as though this nontalk approach is getting you very far.
BOLTON: First, the six-party talks have not been going on for five and a half years.
Second, one of the principal...
KERRY: No, because no talks were going on for the first couple of years, and then the six-party talks were a cover for not dealing with bilateral talks. I understand.
BOLTON: The principal reason that we haven't had six-party talks in 10 months is because North Korea won't accept China's invitation to come to the talks. But we have made it clear to them repeatedly that they could have and they have had bilateral conversations with the United States in the context of the six-party talks.
BOLTON: So the question as to why the six-party talks have not proceeded here, I think lies squarely in Pyongyang.
KERRY: Well, the world and North Korea are getting more dangerous, as you resist the notion of engaging in any kind of bilateral effort as an administration -- not you, personally, I guess, but...
BOLTON: Senator, really, it's hard to understand how you can't look at the notion of conducting the bilateral conversations in the six-party talks and not say that North Korea has an opportunity to make its case to us.
KERRY: Sir, with all due respect, I mean, you know -- what I've seen work and not work over the course of the years I've been here depends on what kind of deal you're willing to make or not make and what your fundamental policies are.
If you're a leader in North Korea, looking at the United States, and you've seen the United States attack Iraq on presumptions of weapons of mass destruction that didn't exist, if you announce a preemptive strategy of regime change, if you are pursuing your own new nuclear weapons, bunker busting nuclear weapons, and you're sitting in another country, you would have a perception of threat that makes you make a certain set of decisions.
And historically throughout the Cold War, that drove the United States and the then-Soviet Union to escalate and escalate. And first one did and then the other.
In fact -- in fact -- in every single case, we were the first, with the exception of two particular weapons systems to develop a nuclear breakthrough first. They followed -- until ultimately, President Reagan, a conservative president, and President Gorbachev said we're going to come down in Reykjavik to no weapons.
So we reversed 50 years of spending money and chasing this thing.
I would respectfully suggest to you that North Korea is sitting there making a set of presumptions. And unless you begin to alter some of the underlying foundation of those presumptions, you're stuck.
The problem is, we're stuck too, as a consequence. And a lot of us feel very, very deeply that the six-party talks have never been real and never been a way of achieving this goal. And as long as we're on this course, we're stuck.
COLEMAN: The chair would note that it's been extremely generous.
KERRY: Maybe you can respond to that, Mr. Ambassador?
BOLTON: Well, I think that the effort that has been made is to give North Korea the opportunity to make the choice, to come out of its isolation, to give up its nuclear weapons programs and to enjoy the kind of life that the people in South Korea enjoy.
BOLTON: There's a great map, Senator -- I'm sure you've seen a copy of it -- of the Korean Peninsula at night. And South Korea is filled with light; North Korea is black. It looks like South Korea is an island. That's what that regime has done to its people.
KERRY: Sir, I know what a terrible regime it is. I understand that.
BOLTON: We have tried to give them the chance, through the six- party talks, to end that isolation. And as I say, for 10 months, they haven't even been willing to go back to Beijing.
KERRY: I have to tell you something. About three years ago or four years ago, I can't remember precisely when, the North Koreans were casting about here in Washington, asking people who do we talk to? They were looking for a deal. And the administration just blanked them. There was no willingness to do this.
This is pre going to the six-party talks. Then we get to the six-party talks, and we've gone through a series of evolutions since then.
So with all due respect, a lot of folks think there's a different course. You don't. The administration doesn't. But I think it's important to talk about it, and I think it's important to lay it out there.
And we have, similarly, on 1559, which called for the disarmament of Hezbollah. That was not a priority for the last year, and we are where we are.
BOLTON: I would disagree it was not a priority, but I'm not sure...
KERRY: Can you tell me what you did at the U.N. that has put it on the front-burner agenda?
BOLTON: I think really at this point I'd just refer you to my earlier testimony where I talked about a number of resolutions and presidential statements that we had adopted to put more pressure on Syria, both with respect to 1559 and 1595, which I think is another quite important resolution pursuing the Hariri assassination.
And I think that in fact, the issue of Lebanon generally is probably the best example of U.S. cooperation with France in a matter in the Security Council that we've had in recent years.
KERRY: Well, again, we can debate, and we're not going to here, so I'll let that go.
COLEMAN: Thank you, Senator Kerry. The Senate does have a tradition of unlimited debate. We will bring this hearing to a close.
Ambassador, diplomats have to operate in all sorts of environments, all sorts of conditions. You've done that through your career and obviously demonstrated the capacity to do it today.
We will keep the record open until the close of business Friday the 28th.
With that, this hearing is now adjourned.
Jul 27, 2006 19:25 ET .EOF
Source: CQ Transcriptions
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