Remarks by Jean-Marc de la Sabliere, French Ambassador to the United Nations, on the United Nations Security Council Presidential Statement

March 29, 2006

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear

The Presidential Statement agreed upon this afternoon marked the end of the discussions. The Security Council hereby endorsed an important text presented by the P5. This is an important achievement attesting of the unanimity of the Council. The message sent is an important message: Iran has to comply with the resolution and the requests of the IAEA. Iran has 30 days now, and we hope that Iran will comply with this request made by the Board of governors of the IAEA. If Iran complies, it will open the way for a negotiated solution.

If there is a guarantee that Iran's nuclear program is peaceful the process is reversible. If the report by Mr El Baradei does not establish the peaceful character of the program as a certainty, then the Security Council will take its responsibilities.

What are the next steps for the European Union negotiations? Are you planning to make any contacts at the EU3 level with the Iranians to discuss this statement?

Well, there is an important meeting tomorrow in Berlin for the EU3 (the Foreign Ministers of the United Kingdom, Germany and France plus the United States, China and Russia). The ministers will discuss the next steps. If Iran complies with the requests of the IAEA, then fine. In case Iran does not comply, they will discuss a strategy.

Mr. Ambassador you said this is a message from the international community to Iran. But if the Iranians have been watching the negotiations over the past three weeks, as I am sure they have been, they will certainly have noticed that although the Council was unanimous, the effort was strained among the P5. They may deduct that this is not a message from the international community, but rather a message from the P5. What do you say to that?

I will say two things. First the message is unanimous from the Security Council and second the message is strong.


Once you've got the report and it's not exactly to your satisfaction, what would be your options?

First, we are not ruling out that Iran will comply and we hope that it will. The Security Council has given 30 days to Iran. We had started with 14 days, and after the discussions we had, we agreed unanimously that 30 days would be a good time-frame. We do not rule out that Iran will comply but tomorrow we are starting a strategy discussion at the ministers' level. In case Iran does not comply, a strategy will be set up tomorrow and we will be ready.

Do you envision any scenario, whatsoever in which it may be legitimate to interpret this presidential statement as a first building block towards sanctions or military action?

No, we are not talking about military action. We wanted a gradual incremental and reversible approach. This is the first step of the gradual approach. Again, it is reversible. If Iran does not comply there would be a second step.

So, you are not ruling out sanctions or military action. You are not ruling them in, you are not ruling them out

I am talking about a step-by-step approach. France has never spoken about military action.