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UN Ambassador Nikki Haley: UN Security Council Is “Obsessed” With Condemning Israel, But Won’t Mention Hezbollah


U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, speaks to the Security Council about the constantly escalating situation in the Middle East. Jared Kushner, a White House special envoy for peace in the Middle East suggested there might be nothing the U.S. can do in comments leaked this week by a Congressional intern. Haley suggested that the United Nations might be part of the problem: "Truth be told, the Security Council often makes the Middle East more complicated than it actually is. It obsesses over Israel. And it refuses to acknowledge one of the chief sources of conflict and killing in the Middle East – that is, Iran and its partner militia, Lebanese Hizballah." "From its base in Lebanon, Hizballah sends its men into Syria," she continued. "Hizballah's illegal weapons build-up is putting the people of Lebanon in great danger. Remarkably, this Council cannot even bring itself to use the word "Hizballah†in recent resolutions or statements on Lebanon. Many here are happy to name Israel, time after time, but Hizballah is somehow off limits. It's absurd." President Trump welcomed the Lebanese Prime Minister to the White House last week. Haley's remarks: NIKKI HALEY, TRUMP ADMINISTRATION: The United States shares everyone's concern about the heightened tensions in Jerusalem. All parties should work to reduce these tensions, and we offer whatever assistance we can in helping to do this. At the holy sites, it is vital that both access and security be ensured. In keeping with Nickolay's recommendation, I am going to refrain from further comment on this sensitive issue in the hope that wisdom will prevail over emotions. This is our monthly gathering to discuss the Middle East. The complicated and seemingly unending conflict there is frustrating to many Americans. It's frustrating to me. But truth be told, the Security Council often makes the Middle East more complicated than it actually is. It obsesses over Israel. And it refuses to acknowledge one of the chief sources of conflict and killing in the Middle East – that is, Iran and its partner militia, Lebanese Hizballah. Hizballah is a terrorist organization. In its own words, it is dedicated to the destruction of Israel. It has the blood of hundreds of Americans and thousands of others on its hands. Together with its Iranian patron, Hizballah seeks to cause destruction throughout the Middle East. Some see "two wings†to Hizballah – a terrorist wing, and a political and social wing. This is a convenient excuse for Hizballah, but it is dangerous fiction. Just because a terrorist group also promotes political candidates for office doesn't make it any less a terrorist group. For a glimpse of Hizballah's true nature, look no further than its work on behalf of the Syrian dictator. From its base in Lebanon, Hizballah sends its men into Syria. There, they have been responsible for some of the bloodiest campaigns of a very bloody war. They are returning to Lebanon battle-hardened, and their presence in Syria keeps open their supply route of sophisticated weapons from Iran. Simply put, Hizballah has grown stronger. It is preparing its men and its arsenal for a future war. None of this is secret. The leader of Hizballah boasts about the destruction that his group is capable of. He talks openly about the support Iran provides. Hizballah even takes journalists on tours of its military operations on the border Lebanon shares with Israel – operations that are in defiance of this Council. It is no secret where the United Nations stands either. It has passed multiple resolutions calling on Hizballah to disarm. It has called on the Lebanese state to exercise control over its territory. But neither of these things has happened. The trend is very much in the opposite direction. Hizballah openly defies these resolutions and impedes the Lebanese government's ability to exercise full control over its territory. For too long, the Security Council has chosen to pretend that the status quo is acceptable for the people of Lebanon. It is not. Hizballah's illegal weapons build-up is putting the people of Lebanon in great danger. Remarkably, this Council cannot even bring itself to use the word "Hizballah†in recent resolutions or statements on Lebanon. Many here are happy to name Israel, time after time, but Hizballah is somehow off limits. It's absurd. Worse than that, it's dangerous. The least the American people expect from this Council is to acknowledge the obvious threats that are right in front of us. How can I explain to them that there is a terrorist organization preparing its men and its arsenal for war, but the United Nations refuses to even say their name? This must change. We must show Hizballah that they cannot get away with its illegal weapons. The United Nations peacekeeping force in Lebanon has an important role to play. The United States supports UNIFIL. But there is much more that UNIFIL should do to help prevent another conflict. It can begin by acknowledging what is happening right under its nose. There are reports of UNIFIL not fully investigating alleged violations. Sometimes it fails to report what its investigators have found. If UNIFIL can't acknowledge illegal weapons that Hizballah parades in front of the media, one wonders what else it's missing. We will have more to say about UNIFIL when its mandate is up for renewal next month. The American people sympathize with the challenges facing the Lebanese people. We will continue to support them as they combat ISIS and host over a million Syrian refugees. We understand that the issues in the Middle East are complex. But we also understand right and wrong, and we expect our leaders to know the difference as well. Hizballah is a destructive terrorist force. It is a major obstacle to peace. And the dangers it poses are getting larger, not smaller. Simply acknowledging this – and saying it out loud – would be a significant step forward. But we must do more than that. We must begin to get serious about enforcing our own resolutions that have been routinely violated by Iran and Hizballah. Note: Haley's prepared remarks refer to 'Hezbollah' as 'Hizballah.' Both transliterations are considered correct.

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Replay: Rex Tillerson Chairs UN Security Council Meeting On North Korea


The U.N. Security Council has already imposed sanctions on North Korea, NBC reports, and the State Department said Friday's meeting will focus on how to enforce them. "It is incumbent on every member of the U.N. to carry out or to enforce those sanctions to the utmost," Mark Toner, acting State Department spokesman, said yesterday. "That is something we have been conveying to allies and partners in the region. That is something that we have obviously been conveying to China." Full replay of the entire session: Full transcript: TILLERSON: Thank you, Secretary General, for that most helpful briefing. I shall now make a statement in my capacity as Secretary of State of the United States, and I thank you for the opportunity to address the Security Council. According to UN Security Council Resolution 2321, a stated objective of this council is North Korea's abandonment of its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. For the past 20 years, well-intentioned diplomatic efforts to halt these programs have failed. It is only by first dismantling them that there can be peace, stability, and economic prosperity for all of Northeast Asia. With each successive detonation and missile test, North Korea pushes Northeast Asia and the world closer to instability and broader conflict. The threat of a North Korean nuclear attack on Seoul, or Tokyo, is real. And it is likely only a matter of time before North Korea develops the capability to strike the U.S. mainland. Indeed, the DPRK has repeatedly claimed it plans to conduct such a strike. Given that rhetoric, the United States cannot idly stand by. Nor can other members of this council who are within striking distance of North Korean missiles. Having for years displayed a pattern of behavior that defies multiple UN Security Council resolutions, including 2321 and 2270, and erodes global progress on nuclear nonproliferation, there is no reason to think that North Korea will change its behavior under the current multilateral sanctions framework. For too long, the international community has been reactive in addressing North Korea. Those days must come to an end. Failing to act now on the most pressing security issue in the world may bring catastrophic consequences. We have said this before and it bears repeating: the policy of strategic patience is over. Additional patience will only mean acceptance of a nuclear North Korea. The more we bide our time, the sooner we will run out of it. In light of the growing threat, the time has come for all of us to put new pressure on North Korea to abandon its dangerous path. I urge this council to act before North Korea does. We must work together to adopt a new approach and impose increased diplomatic and economic pressures on the North Korean regime. The new campaign the United States is embarking on is driven by our own national security considerations, and it is welcomed by many nations who are concerned for their own security and question why North Korea clings to nuclear capabilities for which it has no need. Our goal is not regime change. Nor do we desire to threaten the North Korean people or destabilize the Asia Pacific region. Over the years, we have withdrawn our own nuclear weapons from South Korea and offered aid to North Korea as proof of our intent to de-escalate the situation and normalize relations. Since 1995, the United States has provided over $1.3 billion dollars in aid to North Korea, and we look forward to resuming our contributions once the DPRK begins to dismantle its nuclear weapons and missile technology programs. The DPRK, for its own sake, must dismantle its nuclear and missile programs if it wants to achieve the security, economic development, and international recognition that it seeks. North Korea must understand that respect will never follow recklessness. North Korea must take concrete steps to reduce the threat that its illegal weapons programs pose to the United States and our allies before we can even consider talks. I propose all nations take these three actions beginning today: First, we call on UN member-states to fully implement the commitments they have made regarding North Korea. This includes all measures required in Resolutions 2321 and 2270. Those nations which have not fully enforced these resolutions fully discredit this body. Second, we call on countries to suspend or downgrade diplomatic relations with North Korea. North Korea exploits its diplomatic privileges to fund its illicit nuclear and missile technology programs, and constraining its diplomatic activity will cut off a flow of needed resources. In light of North Korea's recent actions, normal relations with the DPRK are simply not acceptable. Third, we must increase North Korea's financial isolation. We must levy new sanctions on DPRK entities and individuals supporting its weapons and missile programs, and tighten those that are already in place. The United States also would much prefer countries and people in question to own up to their lapses and correct their behavior themselves, but we will not hesitate to sanction third-country entities and individuals supporting the DPRK's illegal activities. We must bring maximum economic pressure by severing trade relationships that directly fund the DPRK's nuclear and missile program. I call on the international community to suspend the flow of North Korean guest workers and to impose bans on North Korean imports, especially coal. We must all do our share, but China accounting for 90 percent of North Korean trade, China alone has economic leverage over Pyongyang that is unique, and its role is therefore particularly important. The U.S. and China have held very productive exchanges on this issue, and we look forward to further actions that build on what China has already done. Lastly, as we have said before, all options for responding to future provocation must remain on the table. Diplomatic and financial levers of power will be backed up by a willingness to counteract North Korean aggression with military action if necessary. We much prefer a negotiated solution to this problem. But we are committed to defending ourselves and our allies against North Korean aggression. This new pressure campaign will be swiftly implemented and painful to North Korean interest. I realize some nations for which a relationship with North Korea has been in some ways a net positive may be disinclined to implement the measures of pressure on North Korea. But the catastrophic effects of a North Korean nuclear strike outweigh any economic benefits. We must be willing to face the hard truths and make hard choices right now to prevent disastrous outcomes in the future. Business as usual is not an option. There is also a moral dimension to this problem. Countries must know by now that helping the North Korean regime means enabling cruelty and suffering. North Korea feeds billions of dollars into a nuclear program it does not need while its own people starve. The regime's pursuit of nuclear weapons does not serve its own national security or the well-being of a people trapped in tyranny. I ask the community of nations to help us preserve security and protect human dignity. In one of my first trips as America's Secretary of State, I looked across the DMZ at the haunted land of North Korea. Beyond the border is a nation of sorrow, frozen in time. While the world sees the gleaming buildings of Pyongyang, the blight of oppression and starvation has swept this land for over 60 years. But even though the present condition of that country is bleak, the United States believes in a future for North Korea. These first steps toward a more hopeful future will happen most quickly if other stakeholders in this — in the region and the global security join us. For years, North Korea has been dictating the terms of its dangerous course of action. It is time for us to retake control of the situation. We ask the members of this council and all other partners to implement a new strategy to denuclearize North Korea. Thank you. I resume my function now as president of the council. I now give the floor to His Excellency, Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan.

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Haley on Syria: “We Are Prepared To Do More,” Hope We Won’t Have To


American Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley warned members of the Security Council on Friday that the U.S. would not hesitate to conduct more strikes like the one last night in Syria if it must. "Bashar Assad must never use chemical weapons again," she warned. "Ever." "The United States took a very measured step last night," Haley said. "We are prepared to do more, but we hope that will not be necessary." She blamed Russia for using its Security Council veto to protect Assad and said "Strengthening Assad will lead to more murders." "Russia is supposed to have removed all the chemical weapons from Syria, but obviously that has not happened," she noted. "The moral stain of the Assad regime could no longer go unanswered." See also: Response from the Syrian government

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Syria: Terrorist Groups And Their “Handlers In Washington, Riyadh, And Tel Aviv” Responsible For Chemical Attack


The Syrian delegate to the United Nations speaks in response to the statement from American ambassador Nikki Haley that the U.S. is "prepared" to take more action against the Syrian government. "The United States at 3:42 a.m., at dawn, today April 7, 2017 waged a barbaric flagrant act of aggression against a base of the Syrian Arab Air Force in the central area of the country using a number of missiles, which led to a number of martyrs, many injured… and wide-ranging material damage," he said. "This is a flagrant violation of the charter of the United Nations as well as all international norms and laws." He said the U.S. acted under "faulty pretexts" with "fabricated arguments" and denied the Syrian government was responsible for launching chemical weapons. He said the real perpatrators were terrorist groups and "their handlers in Washington and Ankara, Doha, Tel Aviv, Riyadh, London and Paris– as well as their media." "The Syrian Arab Army does not have chemical weapons in the first place," he claimed. "It would never use such weapons in any of its operations… it condemns the use of such weapons as being unjustified under any circumstance."

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