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United Nations Vital to U.S. Interests, Negroponte Says

The United Nations has a vital role to play in Iraq -- both before and after July 1, says U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Negroponte, adding that U.N. involvement in countering terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) are also high priorities for the United States.

In prepared testimony before the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, State, and the Judiciary April 1, Negroponte said the United Nations "engages in activities affecting every area of U.S. national interests around the globe." Effective U.S. leadership in the United Nations enables us "to leverage our influence and resources" and maximize "U.N. capabilities in coordinating international action and strengthening international peace and security", he noted.

Negroponte also cited the many other serious issues facing the United Nations as a whole and the Security Council specifically on the eve of the 59th General Assembly, including:

-- support for establishment of a self-sufficient constitutional government in Afghanistan;

-- furtherance of the Middle East roadmap to peace;

-- deployment of a multinational peacekeeping force in Haiti to be followed by a U.N. stabilization force;

-- ongoing peacekeeping efforts in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo;

-- support for the fight against HIV/AIDS; and

-- encouragement for member states to strengthen their laws to prevent trafficking in persons as well as enforcement of the laws and protection of victims.

Following is the text of Negroponte's remarks as prepared for delivery:

(begin text)

United States Mission to the United Nations
April 1, 2004

(As Prepared For Delivery)

Statement for the Record by Ambassador John D. Negroponte, U.S. Representative to the United Nations, Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, State, and the Judiciary, Committee on Appropriations, U.S. House of Representatives, April 1, 2004

Mr. Chairman, it is an honor to testify before your subcommittee. As I emphasized during my testimony two years ago, I believe that it is essential to have close cooperation and an open dialogue with Congress. I therefore look forward to a frank and open discussion with you as I try to complement the statement of Assistant Secretary of State Kim Holmes by offering you my New York perspective on U.S. objectives and budgetary requirements at the United Nations.

I ask that my full statement be submitted for the record.

During these last two years much has changed in our world, but not the U.S. vision of global stability, universal democracy and expanding prosperity that guides our work at the U.N.... We are mindful that as the world's largest international organization, the U.N. engages in activities affecting every area of U.S. national interests around the globe.

At the moment, the highest U.S. policy priorities involving the U.N. are transferring sovereignty to the Iraqi people and preparing for Iraqi elections, strengthening the U.N.'s support for global efforts against terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and using the U.N. to successfully address threats to international peace and security posed by potentially failing states.

In meeting these and other priorities, effective U.S. leadership and participation in the U.N. enables us to leverage our influence and resources, and to exploit U.N. capabilities in coordinating international action, strengthening international peace and security, promoting economic and social development and good governance, and establishing technical and normative standards.

As the largest contributor to the U.N., the U.S. also must and does take the lead on reforms designed to maximize U.N. efficiency in the use of resources and ensure the effectiveness of its programs. Good stewardship of U.S. taxpayer contributions provides recipients around the world with the best value for each dollar given while results-based budgeting and program prioritization direct expenditures away from obsolete or low priority activities.

On the eve of the 59th General Assembly, a number of serious issues face the United Nations as a whole and the Security Council specifically. They are both country specific and thematic. Let me list a number of them for
you:

-- supporting the establishment of democracy in Iraq, including transferring sovereign authority back to the people of Iraq, preparing for the election of the transitional government and assisting with the drafting of a permanent constitution;

-- implementing the Bonn Agreement and supporting the new constitution in Afghanistan as that country continues to make progress on its journey towards peace and stability;

-- encouraging both sides to take the necessary steps to achieve President Bush's vision of a two-state solution articulated in the Middle East Roadmap;

-- using the deployment of a Multinational Interim Force, to be followed by a U.N. stabilization force within three months, to bring a measure of calm and stability to Haiti;

-- supporting ongoing peacekeeping efforts in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Cote d'Ivoire and the DRC [Democratic Republic of Congo] and anticipating possible missions in Burundi and Sudan;

-- encouraging the international tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone to complete their work successfully;

-- enhancing the ability of the United Nations to promote security and stability around the world through a revitalized counterterrorism committee;

-- promoting an end to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction;

-- supporting the fight against AIDS;

-- promoting the participation of women in the political process in all countries;

-- supporting the passage of a total ban on human cloning;

-- promoting economic growth and development through the spirit of partnership established in Monterrey two years ago;

-- encouraging member states to strengthen their laws to prevent trafficking in persons as well as enforcement of the law and protection of victims; [and]

-- initiating the temporary relocation and subsequent rebuilding of the U.S. Mission over the next several years and assisting the United Nations to begin its own renewal effort through the Capital Master Plan.

Iraq

Mr. Chairman, the Transitional Administrative Law that will govern Iraq during the period of Iraq's transition to full democracy has been completed. This document represents a remarkable accomplishment -- Iraqis representing diverse backgrounds, views and interests worked together in the spirit of compromise to map their way forward politically and assert the fundamental human rights of all Iraqis. They deserve our full support, not only our direct efforts but also our support in mobilizing the resources of the international community, including the U.N.

Difficult challenges remain. Former regime loyalists, foreign fighters, and hardened international terrorists continue to plague the Iraqi people with attacks on police stations, religious gatherings, and schools.

The United Nations has a vital role to play in Iraq -- both before and after July 1 -- and the ongoing efforts of the Secretary-General [Kofi Annan], [U.N. envoy] Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi, and the members of the United Nations electoral teams vividly demonstrate this role. The Iraqi people, the United Nations, and the Coalition all support the transfer of sovereignty by June 30, as well as direct national elections for the transitional assembly by January 2005, but there is much to be done.

We therefore welcome the United Nations' active and robust engagement in helping the Iraqis define their own future and transition to a democratic society at peace with its neighbors. In particular, the U.N.'s considerable elections expertise will be invaluable as Iraq prepares for the monumental task of holding national elections at the end of this year. Further, we welcome the U.N.'s efforts in the form of Mr. Brahimi's work to provide advice and assistance on the mechanism for governing Iraq between the transfer of sovereignty and national elections, as well as on elections preparations.

The Oil-for-Food [OFF] program has been another key issue that required U.S. attention and effort over several years with regard to Iraq. For our part, we were actively working to monitor and counter possible wrongdoing by the former government of Iraq throughout the life of the program. Through the 661 Committee, the U.S. took action to counter the illegal surcharge on oil pricing by imposing a retroactive pricing mechanism. We reviewed each OFF humanitarian contract that was approved for import into Iraq to ensure dual use and WMD-related items would be blocked. Through the Multinational Maritime Interception Force (MIF), the U.S. worked to prevent the illegal export of oil outside the program. Although our efforts to implement additional preventative measures -- including the implementation of commercial protection, land and border monitoring and a comprehensive "smart sanctions" resolution -- were opposed by other members of the Council, we were successful in implementing the Goods Review List (GRL) in May 2002.

With the onset of the conflict in March of last year, CPA (Coalition Provisional Authority) authorities, in coordination with Iraqi Ministry and U.N. agency officials, reviewed over 5,000 OFF contracts to determine their relative priority. During this process, CPA eliminated a 10 percent surcharge imposed on many of the contracts, as Iraqi officials brought them to light. After termination of the program on November 21, 2003, the United Nations World Food Program was requested to assist the Coalition Provisional Authority and the Iraqi Ministry of Trade with procurement and logistics to keep the Public Distribution System supplied with food-basket goods. Shipments of food and other humanitarian supplies are now managed by the newly established Coordination Center jointly staffed by Iraqi and Coalition officials. The Center's role is to ensure the steady, secure, and managed flow of remaining Oil-for-Food goods and newly procured goods. The Ministry of Trade will take complete control of procurement on April 1 and will assume full responsibility for all aspects of the program on July 1.

With regard to the allegations of misconduct and abuse under the Oil-for-Food program that have surfaced in recent weeks, the U.S. and CPA stand ready to cooperate with and support ongoing investigations. The CPA is currently assisting the Governing Council and the Iraqi ministries to gather and secure relevant documents. The Secretary-General of the U.N. has opened a high-level, independent inquiry into the allegations against U.N. personnel and those companies and contractors that were involved in the Oil-for-Food program. Member States' cooperation in these investigations will be critical.

Iraq's neighbors and regional partners have a unique opportunity to play a constructive role in this transition, but anyone in the international community with the resources to contribute should come forward to help the Iraqi people.

Afghanistan

Mr. Chairman, the Bush administration is thankful for the steadfast support Congress has shown with regard to Afghanistan and looks forward to continuing this critical partnership. Two years after the start of the process set forth in the Bonn Agreement, Afghanistan, with the assistance of the international community, has made significant progress in its journey towards peace and stability. Some of the key accomplishments to date include the creation of the Afghan Transitional Administration, the adoption of an Afghan Constitution, the launch of a new Afghan currency, the rebuilding of essential roads, the return of more than two million refugees to Afghanistan, and the return of some four million children to school.

The next major step on the road to democracy in Afghanistan will be national elections. These elections will be the first in Afghanistan's history based on the principle of "one person, one vote" and universal suffrage, and should result in the first truly democratically elections.

The success of the Constitutional Loya Jirga represented a historic milestone for the state-building effort in Afghanistan. The new constitution adopted on January 4 forged a contract between the Afghan people and those who govern them both now and in the future. The commencement of the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) program in October 2003, and the electoral registration program that began in December were also milestones of the Bonn Process. We look to our partners, the international community, and most importantly the Afghan people to help ensure our continued success. With that goal in mind, I want to recognize the good work that is being done right now in Berlin at the international conference on Afghanistan. I hope that the Berlin Conference will result in a renewed commitment to success in Afghanistan, as well as new financial and in-kind donations.

The security situation in Afghanistan, especially in the areas near the border with Pakistan, continues to feature prominently in the view ahead to national elections for a new Afghan Government. The accelerated segment of the ongoing U.N.-led electoral registration cannot achieve its target numbers if registration teams are denied access to certain provinces because of the security situation. We remain extremely grateful to NATO for its leadership of the International Security Assistance Force
(ISAF) in Afghanistan. I commend the current NATO Secretary-General (de Hoop Scheffer) as well as his predecessor (Robertson) for their efforts to expand the NATO force. Substantial new troop contributions have not yet materialized, but we hope that they will in the months ahead. I also wish to extend my gratitude to the brave men and women of Operation Enduring Freedom, including the soldiers and civilians of our Provincial Reconstruction Teams, for representing a force for good in the parts of Afghanistan that most desperately need it.

Middle East

Mr. Chairman, the United States remains committed to President Bush's June 24, 2002, vision for the Middle East. We are currently engaged in intensive discussions with the Israeli government, as well as other regional partners, about Prime Minister Sharon's ideas that include the possible unilateral withdrawal from settlements. We believe such a move could generate momentum and could help in moving forward towards the realization of President Bush's vision and the implementation of the roadmap. Disappointingly, the Palestinian Authority has taken no meaningful steps to quell the onslaught of suicide bombings or fulfill its security obligations under the roadmap.

The United States government continues its engagement on the economic track with the Palestinians, but progress is intimately linked with Palestinian performance on security and implementation of the roadmap. Israel must take steps to ease the humanitarian conditions on the Palestinians, take action on settlements and outposts and address concerns about the route of the security fence. Any final settlement between Israelis and Palestinians must be achieved by negotiations. Neither side can impose final conditions on the other. We remain committed to the vision outlined by President Bush in his June 24, 2002, speech of two states living side by side in peace and security. The roadmap is the vehicle for implementation of this vision.

Haiti

Mr. Chairman, Haiti is an example of a nation teetering on the brink of failure. Following President Aristide's resignation in February, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 1529 that authorized the deployment of a Multinational Interim Force for a period of not more than three months. Supporting Haiti's "constitutional succession and political process," the resolution mandates this force to "contribute to a secure and stable environment, to facilitate the provision of humanitarian assistance, and to facilitate the provision of international assistance to the Haitian police and the Haitian Coast Guard in order to establish and maintain public safety and law and order and to promote and protect human rights." A follow-on resolution will be needed in a few weeks in order to establish a stabilization force to support continuation of a peaceful and constitutional political process and the development of a secure and stable environment. Getting the U.N. force to take over for departing Multinational Interim Force troops by June 1 is a key policy objective.

To date, France, Chile, Canada and the United States have sent troops to Haiti as part of the Multinational Interim Force. For its part, the United Nations dispatched an assessment mission to Haiti; the Security Council has just received the Secretary-General's report as to the next steps they will recommend.

The Secretary-General has urged the international community not take a "band-aid" approach to Haiti but rather commit to a long-term involvement to help rebuild institutions. Now that Haiti has a new Prime Minister and an acting president, next steps will include re-establishing the Haitian National Police throughout the country and preparing for national elections in 2005.

Peacekeeping

At this moment there are 13 peacekeeping missions around the world with a 14th scheduled to begin in Cote d'Ivoire on April 4. Three peacekeeping missions were closed during the 2002-2003 period (UNMOP, UNMIBH and UNIKOM). Several others (UNAMSIL, UNMISET, UNIFIL, UNMIK) have been "right-sized" during this period, contributing to savings resulting from the closure of missions. We remain committed to the reforms put forth in the Brahimi report and are working with member states and the U.N. to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of peacekeeping operations worldwide.

Africa dominates the peacekeeping agenda. From Sierra Leone to Liberia to Cote d'Ivoire to the Congo, the Security Council has authorized blue helmet operations. Each presents it own challenges and opportunities. And Africa may witness other peacekeeping operations in the near term. For example, we anticipate a Security Council vote authorizing a peacekeeping mission in Burundi sometime in April.

The peace talks between the government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) continue under the leadership of Kenya and the Intergovernmental Agency on Development (IGAD). The United Nations is engaged in contingency planning for a monitoring mission in the hope that the parties conclude a Comprehensive Peace Agreement. We have consistently informed the U.N. that it should plan for a lean and mobile monitoring mission that would track compliance by the parties. Given the length of the conflict, it is likely that the mission would last the full six years as foreseen in the Machakos Protocols, signed in July 2002 by the parties.

International Tribunals

The United States is a leading supporter of efforts to bring to justice those alleged to have committed grave violations of the laws of armed conflict and international humanitarian law.

Currently, three courts are in session: the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and the Special Court for Sierra Leone. In 2003, in the interest of efficiency and the implementation of completion strategies for both Tribunals, the position of a single Chief Prosecutor for both Tribunals was changed: the ICTR acquired its own Chief Prosecutor. We continue to work on implementing the completion strategy to reach a successful conclusion to the trial phase by the end of 2008 for the ICTY and ICTR. It is U.S. policy that the most serious offenders will be tried at the ICTY and the ICTR while the others will be tried in local jurisdictions. The Special Court for Sierra Leone has operated effectively and has contributed to the goal of holding accountable those who are guilty of committing wartime atrocities. Unfortunately, its voluntary funding mechanism, because of the failure of other countries to contribute, is falling short of its goal for 2005 and the Secretary-General has proposed that the final tranche of funding come from United Nations assessed contributions.

The International Criminal Court [ICC] has begun operations. The U.S. regards the Court as gravely flawed in the areas of accountability, due process, relationship to the Security Council and U.N. Charter, and jurisdiction. The risk of politicization is great. It does not recognize the principle that there shall be no double jeopardy except with respect to its own decisions. Therefore, we continue to try to conclude bilateral agreements that provide protection for our nationals from the jurisdiction of the ICC. We also intend that the Security Council renew its request (binding on the ICC), made in each of the last two years, that the ICC not commence any investigation or proceeding with respect to nationals of States that are not parties to the Rome Statute who participate in U.N.-authorized or established operations.

Counterterrorism

Perhaps the most significant contribution by the Security Council to the global campaign against terrorism was the adoption of Resolution 1373 in September 2001. This Resolution is sweeping. It imposed a series of counterterrorism obligations on all States and established the Counter-Terrorism Committee [CTC] to monitor implementation.

Through its capacity-building and global coordination initiatives, the Committee has become a significant element of the worldwide campaign against terrorism. It has helped energize States and organizations around the world to pay more attention to combating terrorism, whether through the adoption of new or the improvement of existing counterterrorism legislation or the development and implementation of counterterrorism action plans. It has galvanized more than 60 international, regional, and sub-regional organizations worldwide to become more active in the fight.

Recently, the Committee prepared a report that identified not only the difficulties Member States are having implementing Resolution 1373, but also highlighted its own internal structural problems preventing the CTC from performing as effectively as desired. After months of deliberations, the Committee agreed that a restructuring of its support staff is needed to enable the Committee to carry out its mandate. The wider U.N. Membership supports the restructuring. The Security Council implemented the restructuring on Friday, March 26 when it adopted Resolution 1535.

The Resolution established the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate
(CTED) headed by an Executive Director, who will oversee the work of 15-20 counterterrorism experts, as well as other staff. A principal goal is to provide the CTC with an executive arm that can be proactive with the many States eager for more interaction with the Committee and its experts than is presently possible.

We are committed to ensuring that the CTED makes the Committee and therefore the Security Council more effective while maintaining a reasonable and responsible budget that does not take away from funding from other important U.N. activities.

As a complement to the work of the CTC, the Security Council's 1267 Committee works to neutralize the impact of terrorists and their groups. Sanctions include an arms embargo, travel ban, and assets freeze. Member states must implement measures imposed under Resolution 1267 and provide required written assessments.

Security Council Resolution 1526, which the U.S. drafted, further increased emphasis on member state compliance with the sanctions measures. The new eight-member Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team called for in the Resolution was tasked to "collate, assess, monitor and report on" steps being taken to implement and enforce those measures aimed at curbing terrorists ability to carry out their acts.

Non-Proliferation

As President Bush stated during his September 2003 speech to the United Nations, "...we must confront together the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. ... The deadly combination of outlaw regimes and terror networks and weapons of mass murder is a peril that cannot be ignored or wished away." To that end, the United States introduced a draft Security Council resolution on March 24, 2004 to the full Security Council. That draft is the product of careful groundwork and extensive negotiations among the Permanent Five (P5) members of the Security Council. The Resolution states that the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and their means of delivery is a threat to international peace and security. It calls on Member States to criminalize proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery to or from non-state actors, enact and enforce effective export controls, and secure proliferation sensitive materials.

HIV/AIDS

Mr. Chairman, despite the strides that we in the United States have facilitated over the last several years, the AIDS pandemic continues to ravage our world, particularly the African continent. The president has committed to a 5-year, $15 billion, multi-faceted approach to fighting the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The plan aims to prevent seven million new infections, treat two million HIV-infected people, and provide care to 10 million people affected by HIV/AIDS, including orphans and vulnerable children.

The Emergency Plan virtually triples U.S. international HIV/AIDS assistance and includes bilateral programs that continue in over 70 countries as well as a $1 billion pledge to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and a new $9 billion program focused on 14 countries in Africa and the Caribbean.

The U.S. remains the largest single donor to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. We have contributed $623 million to date and have pledged $1.97 billion from the Fund's inception through 2008. This amounts to 36 percent of total pledges and 27 percent of all contributions through February 2004. We are also the largest donor to UNAIDS, the coordinating body for U.N. action on AIDS.

We are continuing our efforts to keep the General Assembly engaged on the issue, including thorough preparation for a 2005 meeting to review progress towards the targets established in the U.N.'s 2001 Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS.

The U.S. was a leader in bringing AIDS to the attention of the Security Council, through Resolution 1308 in 2000. The Security Council held an open meeting in October 2003 to review progress in implementing 1308, with a primary focus on peacekeeping operations.

Women and Political Participation

Mr. Chairman, the U.S. took the lead in the 58th General Assembly to sponsor a resolution (58/142) on "Women and Political Participation." The resolution was adopted by consensus, and attracted 110 additional cosponsors from all regions of the world. The resolution contains practical recommendations about ways to empower women to vote, advocate, manage, and govern.

The United States is actively working to promote the resolution's implementation around the world. We are funding programs to train women in Latin America, Africa, Europe, East Asia, the Middle East, and South Asia to run for office and to lead non-governmental organizations. The U.S. is partnering with NGOs [non-governmental organizations] and institutions like the National Endowment for Democracy in private-sector programs that target rising women leaders in the political, social, health, and economic spheres. The United States is investing heavily in bringing women into the political equation in post-conflict areas, where their choices and vision are critical, such as in Iraq and Afghanistan. The power of women to mold new societies and to reshape them for the betterment of their countries is enormous.

Human Cloning

The United Nations General Assembly will revisit the topic of human cloning during the Fall 2004 General Assembly. In 2003, the General Assembly decided by consensus to defer discussion of this topic for one year. The United States, along with over 65 other nations, has been pushing for an outcome that addresses all forms of human cloning -both experimental and reproductive -- equally and at the same time. A smaller group of states has been pushing for a convention that would ban reproductive cloning only, leaving states free to pursue experimental cloning.

U.S. policy remains committed to the position that all human cloning is wrong and should be banned. Cloning a human embryo, for any purpose, is an affront to human dignity and individuality. "Experimental" or "therapeutic" cloning requires the creation of a human embryo for the purpose of killing it to extract stem cells, thus elevating the value of research and experimentation above that of a human life. The killing of a human being can never be justified for research ends.

Financing for Development

Two years ago, heads of State and government, meeting in Monterrey, Mexico, arrived at a consensus on the importance of mobilizing all resources -- both developing country and developed country -- in partnership to advance economic growth and development. That consensus emphasized that each country has principal responsibility for its own economic and social development.

However, in our efforts to infuse the spirit of Monterrey into the treatment of economic issues in the U.N., we have seen how deeply ingrained "old thinking" is, and how difficult it is to dislodge the notion that only increased foreign aid, or more extensive debt forgiveness, will bring about development.

To counter this, we are promoting the concept of economic freedom and national responsibility in U.N. bodies. Economic freedom means creating the conditions, which will mobilize domestic capital and allow the private sector in developing countries to fulfill its essential role as the engine of growth and development.

To promote the goals of the Monterrey Consensus, the U.S. is moving forward with the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA). There is tremendous interest at the U.N. for its results-based and partnership approach, which underpins our message that the vision of our leaders in Monterrey must be, realized one country at a time through domestic good governance, sound policy, and the enabling environment that will lead to the most effective mobilization of national resources.

Trafficking in Persons

President Bush has made the fight against this horrific modern form of slavery an American priority. He highlighted our commitment to the fight during his September 2003 address to the U.N. General Assembly, saying, "Each year, an estimated 800,000 to 900,000 human beings are bought, sold or forced across the world's borders. Among them are hundreds of thousands of teenage girls, and others as young as five, who fall victim to the sex trade." The president committed an additional $50 million to support the global fight against human trafficking. The $50 million is in addition to the $150 million the administration has invested in combating trafficking over the last two years (FY 02 and FY 03).

Mr. Chairman, the United States works through many U.N. mechanisms to fight trafficking in persons. These include support for General Assembly resolutions and voluntary contributions to U.N. bodies which assist victims of trafficking and which assist countries in suppressing trafficking.

To give you an idea of the grass-roots nature of these initiatives, some U.S. contributions assist the U.N. to translate and distribute public service announcements into Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, Hausa, Swahili, Chinese, French and German. Other funds are used to assist in harmonizing legislation in the Western African region to bring it in line with the U.N. protocol on trafficking. Funds have also been used to help establish a center where victims in Indonesia can receive medical, legal and psychological attention before returning to their homes.

The U.N. Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children supplementing the U.N. Convention against Transnational Organized Crime entered into force on December 25, 2003. The president sent the Convention and its supplementary protocols on Trafficking in persons and Smuggling of Migrants to the Senate for advice and consent in February 2004. The Administration supports ratification.

Buildings -- the Mission and the U.N.

Mr. Chairman, for a number of years the U.S. Mission to the United Nations has worked to secure funding so that our crowded, outdated and unsafe facility could be replaced. In June of this year, we will move into temporary quarters pending the demolition of the current building and construction of a new one. The construction contract should be awarded in January 2005 with move-in projected for spring 2008.

For similar reasons, we must also address the state of the U.N. Secretariat building and headquarters complex. At over 50 it is showing its age. On March 16, the U.S. formally tabled in the budget committee of the General Assembly a provisional offer of a loan to the United Nations of up to $1.2 billion for 30 years to finance the Capital Master Plan. Reactions to the U.S. proposal have, so far, been mixed. Some states expressed disappointment that the U.S. did not offer an interest-free loan which was the U.S. financing mechanism in the early 1950's to construct the U.N. headquarters in New York. Ireland (on behalf of the EU), China, India, Brazil and Japan were those countries expressing disappointment while the Russian Federation and others appreciated American efforts to finance the Capital Master Plan. All made clear they were willing to keep lines of communication open. The Russian Federation, in particular, said the U.S. offer was helpful and should be endorsed by other states. Finally, every state that offered public comments urged the Secretary-General to look into voluntary funding mechanisms from public as well as private sources, a request that is contained in two previous General Assembly resolutions.

Mr. Chairman, the United Nations is seized with challenges to world order and security. The foregoing examples illustrate some of the conflicts confronting us. There are other challenges to peace and security that are not specific to one country. These challenges touch most member states in one way or another. Some, like the international tribunals, are a result of war. Others, like the scourge of HIV/AIDS can be more devastating than any war. The United Nations is one avenue we have to meet those challenges. The United States Mission to the United Nations is dedicated to using the resources of the U.N. to address these and many other challenges confronting our world today.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and the Committee for your attention and I would welcome your questions.
 

(end text)

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

 

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