tv [untitled] April 10, 2012 1:30pm-2:00pm EDT
groups such as the international telecommunications union and the world's intellectual property organization, u.n. specialized agency and affiliated organizations provide a wide range of services to the world community. i hope you'll highlight the importance of these organizations to u.s. economic and security interests as well as what the proposed 6% decrease in the fy 2013 request to our voluntary contributions would mean for these organizations. from the start of the 112th congress we have seen repeated attacks on the u.n. from legislation demanding impossible changes to proposed funding cuts that would undermine the u.n. and negatively impact u.s. leadership. unfortunately i anticipate similar efforts this year. the u.n. cannot deliver the results we want if we starve it of the resources it needs.
moreover it's in our interest to make sure the rest of the world continues to pick up 3/4 of the tab for u.n. activities. i believe if we treat our financial obligations under the u.n. charter as optional, others will too resulting in increased bilateral assistance needs, less opportunity for multilateral coordination and most important and far greater costs than blood and treasure. president reagan noted that quote, our goals are those that guide this very body. our ends are the same as those of the u.n.'s founders who sought to replace a world at war with one where the rule of law would prevail. where human rights were honored where development would blossom where conflict would give way to
freedom from violence. these words remain true to this day and i look forward to continuing to work with you to support robust u.s. leadership at the united nations. thank you. >> thank you. ambassador rice you'll have your full written statement in place in the record of course. so please feel free to summarize your statement if you chose. >> thank you very much, chairwoman granger, representative, members of the committee. thank you for inviting me to testify today. i'm grateful for your continued support of our efforts at the united nations. especially at this time of fiscal constraint. on behalf of the administration i'm pleased to request full funding. the contributions to international organizations, the contributions to international peacekeeping activities and the international organizations and
programs account. as both democratic and republican leaders have long attested, a strong and effective united nations is one of our best tools to tackle many of the world's problem. tun is not the sum of our strategy. but it's an special peace of it. in response to the horrors in syria, the united states and our partners at the united nations have supported an immediate halt to the vie leps and negotiated peaceful transition and a responsible democratic process. despite russia and china twice vetoing security council action, the united nations general assembly and human rights council have repeatedly and overwhelmingly condemned the carnage and the united nations has played an important role in supporting arab league efforts to end the crisis including through the joint appointment of
special envoy co-fee annan. in line ya the u.n. led gadhafi from massacring his own people. to end nuclear weapons programs, the united states pushed the security council to impose the toughest sachss ever on iran and north korea. as the president has made clear, we will prevent iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. and as long as iran fails to meet its international obligations, the pressure will build. the united nations played a critical role in supporting the creation of a newly independent south sudan. the u.n. ensured a democratically elected president took office. these are just a few examples of how u.s. leadership at the
united nations is producing tangible results for the american people. but despite important progress, much remains to be done. that is why we're championing braert budget discipline and management reforms that will make the united nations more efficient and cost effective. in september we led a successful effort to cut by 5% the size of the united nations regular budget. the first reduction in 14 years and only the second in the past 50 years. the obama administration has also succeeded in holding peacekeeping budget levels effectively constant for the past three years. we secured a commitment from the heads of all new york based funds and programs to disclose online all internal audit
reports starting this year. our reform agenda is based on four key pill larceny. first, economy. a leaner u.n. that does more with less. second accountability. a cleaner u.n. with robust oversight mechanisms, ethics enforcement, whistle blower protection and greater transparency. third excellence and insis tans on delivering results and highest standards. fourth integrity, a more credible united nations that lives up to its founding principles and values and does not tolerate individuals or states that bring dishonor to the institution. this brings me to another important priority. every day we stand with israel to oppose hostile efforts to oppose israel's legitimacy and security at the united nations. we remain vigilant on the
palestinian's unilateral bid for membership and enhanced status. there is no shortcut to statehood. tough issues can only be resolved through tough negotiations throughout the parties. and we only fight against anti-israeli resolutions in the general aembly, human rights council and elsewhere. allow me now to draw your attention to the long standing legislative revics on paying our assessed contributions to u.n. specialized agencies that admit palestine as a member state. these laws run counter to u.n. national security interest because they enable the palestinians to determine whether the united states can continue to fund and lead in u.n. agencies that serve a wide range of an important american interest. cutting off funding for agencies
like the world health organization, the iaea and the world intellectual property organization would deal a major blow to global health, nuclear nonproliferation and the protection of american businesses. our participation in unesco is also valuable. therefore the administration's budget request includes funding for the u.s. contribution to unesco and a statement of intent to work with congress to find a solution that would waive restrictions on paying our financial contributions when doing so is clearly in our national interest. we appreciate greatly this committee's long standing efforts to help us meet our commitment to the united nations. staying up to date with our contributions has helped us deliver some of the most significant accomplishments to advanced u.s. interests and promote u.n. reform in more than
a decade. the active and full support of this committee remains essential to our efforts. i thank you and i welcome your questions. >> thank you very much. we'll go as we have before in seniority as you are seated in the -- in this room. i'm going to ask a question having to do with what you just said, but also referring to senator clinton when she told the committee that she wanted waiver authority to allow funds to go to unesco and other agencies. we took the position we did from this subcommittee in our bill to put everything we could possibly put toward the palestinian authority staying at the peace table and working it out with israel. my question is if there is going
to be asked for a waiver, a waiver put what specific conditions do you think should exist before a waiver should be granted. >> madam chairman, let me discuss unesco specifically and then the broader problem. unesco is an organization that president george wvp bush rightly determined the united states autoto be part of. why? as he basely put it and we understand it it's essentially an anti-extreme itself organization. it does importance things like holocaust education. educating girls and women in places like afghanistan. providing literatesy training for police and other personnel in places like afghanistan and elsewhere. it is doing essential work from girls' education to tsunami warning that serve u.s. interests. we think we ought to be part of it. now the palestinians did something reprehenceable that we strongly opposed that was to try
to take a shortcut to membership of unesco prior to a negotiated agreement with the israelis. we oppose that. we think there ought to be consequences for that. but the consequence should not to put ourselves in a position to fund programs that are no longer in our interest and ultimately will lose our vote in this organization. we believe and expect they will resume their contributions to unesco so they are not liable to lose their vote as we will be
losing our vote. we need to look at this and ask yourselves how do we put practical breaks on the palestinian efforts to march through these agencies that deter the palestinians without harming our interest more than we harm the palestinians. now the waiver is there because the funding for unesco is in the budget because we do hope and intend to work with you and real vent members of congress on the way to solve this problem. this is a problem that results from legislation enacted with good intent in 1990 and 1994 when the world was a very different place. the process of pursuing a negotiated two-state solution was in a very different place. and in fact, the legislation at that point had a deterrent effect as intended. it no longer does. the plips and the rest of the world knew about our elective restrictions before they took the vote in unesco.
we have actively and aggressively made sure before and after that vote that they understand the consequences should the palestinians go to other organizations. we have every expectation that should the palestinians take that decision the legislation won't deter the majority of the member states from voting them in. so we end up potentially on the outside of organizations that manifestly serve the interest of the united states and protect our citizens. we need to rethink that. we need to find ways to ensure that it is the palestinians if they pursue this path that suffer the consequences rather than the united states of america. >> what consequences would you suggest? this is something that i think we ought to discuss with other responsible members of the administration including at the state department. you have legislation that you
enacted in december that already puts in place consequences that i think are meaningful. and that i believe have gotten the palestinian's attention including funding limitations for them if they continue on this path including potential consequences for their mission here in washington. they don't harm us directly. they don't prevent us from advancing american interests. >> i understand. thank you very much. >> the orarea seems to with the world health organization. i wonder if you could comment on that and what the state department is doing to prevent the palestinians from further pushing their membership request at the u.n.?
>> well, let me refer both to the world health organization and other potential steps. the reality is congresswoman, we don't know for sure. i'm not even sure the palestinians know for sure what their next steps may be. as you know, they made the decision back in september to present a membership application to the united nations security council. that issue was discussed and dealt with through the normal channels, but through diplomatic efforts led by the united states it became clear that the palestinians over time would not only succeed in their application because the united states were to oppose it, but they did not have the nine affirmative votes that would be necessary for that application to be approved by the security council even in the absence of the u.s. veto. so that is more or less been on ice for a few months. the palestinians have will held
further action in the united nations as the discussions that the jordanians have facilitated have been ongoing. they have continued to do so even as those discussions have been paused. and we hope, although i don't think it would be -- i would go so far as to say that we are confident. we woeld hope that the palestinians would see the wisdom of continuing to refrain from that march whether through the general assembly or the specialized agencies. that said we recognize that they may at a certain point change their mind. we are very judge lant about all of the potential avenues that they might take from the general assembly that world health organization iaea and others. our posture is to underscore the consequences not only to the peace process to palestinian interests, to the wider interests of the united nations should they choose to do that and of course our relationship
with the palestinian authority. but also do impress upon each and every member state that ultimately gets a vote in this regard and the consequences for the peace process for advancing the goal ultimately of a two-state solution we think these actions in fact would set that bole back rather than bring it close and of course to underscore to member states that we degrade and discredit the united nations when we allow countries or prospective countries to try to jump the queue and get a degree of membership or status that is not yet warranted. so we're very active i can assure you across the board in trying to prevent this and if necessary confront it. but i think you know and we know that the math is not in the united states' favor on issues of this sort when it comes to
the entire membership. >> with regard to iran, the united states has i think been very effective in imposing tough sanctions on iran. i sprongly support that policy both bilateral and multilateral to stop iran in its tracks. now i think everyone would agree that sanctions seem to be having an impact on the iranian economy. it's probably deflated about 50%. but do you see any evidence that the regime is seriously interested in ending or even delaying its nuclear program? >> let me reiterate what i said and this is the starting point for any discussion on iran. as president obama has repeated, the united states will not toll rat or accept an iran with a nuclear weapon.
we will take necessary actions to prevent that from occurring. we think the surest way to underscore and rule out any future prospect of an iranian nuclear weapon is for iran to do as other countries have done and that is to give up its nuclear program. the best means of accomplishing that remains through a negotiated agreement. that is why we have increased the pressure successfully on iran with the aim of trying to change its calculus so it comes to the negotiating table in earnest. the sanctions that we imposed in resolution 1929 at the u.n. security council was a huge step forward that substantially imcreased the pressure. the angsts this congress that taken that other countries in europe, in asia and elsewhere have taken have brought us to the point that you just
described where iran is truly facing crippling economic pressure and we do think that it is now very negotiating table, to test whether that pressure is now sufficient to change their calculation. i can't predict the answer to that question until we get there and have the opportunity for a series of discussions. if it is not, the pressure will increase. if it is not, we will take no option off the table. >> i just want to follow up. because experts on iran, such as kareem sajapoor, feel even if the iranians came to the table you couldn't trust them. they'll say one thing on monday and switch their position later on. he and others also believe that even if they came to the table, even if there were regime change and no one believes they will have regime change because this regime is so ensconced, the next
regime would look at libya, would look at pakistan, would look at north korea, and pursue their nuclear program. so i'd just be interested in a few minutes, because i think my time is almost up, how do you respond to people like kareem sajipoor and others who don't believe that the iranians would ever come to a table in good faith? >> well, first of all, the record is one to make those doubts legitimate. we have no illusions about iran's record at negotiations. having said that, the pressure on iran has never been what it is today. and it is only increasing. in the months to come, the cumulative effect of the pressure on the central bank, the european oil embargo, and additional measures that we and others are taking, are going to tighten the noose to a point
that it has never been thus far. and we believe that there is a reasonable potential for that degree of pressure to, in fact, cause the iranians to reassess their interests. and the relative importance that they attack to pursuing their nuclear program. can we be certain? of course not. do we think it must be tested? absolutely, yes. because it is the only certain way to end the program as opposed to delay it or set it back for a brief period of time. >> i think my time is up, but, thank you, and i hope you're correct. >> thank you very much. we'll call the members. if you'll watch the timing very carefully. ambassador rice, if you'll make your answers as succinct and possible -- ishgts >> is this red light what i should be watching? >> yes. >> okay, thank you. >> is the light working? >> yeah. >> oh. it wasn't before. >> how long is the -- >> five minutes. and that includes their
questions and your answers. so if -- sorry, i don't mean to be disrespectful. if your answers are too long, i can't get to their questions. >> is that what your call -- >> was i diplomatic? about that? i hope so. we're going to go ahead. mr. cole. >> thank you, madam chairman. usually the problem's the length of our questions, not the length of your answers, my experience around here. you mentioned in your testimony, ambassador, about libya. let me ask you a question. there was a lot of skepticism, i think, on the hill because the administration chose to engage in military activity without coming, honestly, to congress in any kind of formal way and asking for consent. looking forward at the possibility that something like that might occur in syria or might occur with iran, do you think the administration, under those circumstances, would come to congress or should come to congress in order to receive authorization for the use of force in either of those two cases?
>> well, sir, let me say first of all that i'm not a lawyer, nor am i the administration official responsible for those kinds of judgments or recommendations or determinations. but i will say this. what we did in libya was the right thing. we had the support of the international community, the support of the region, and we protected the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians that were at imminent risk of slaughter. the decision that the united statess security council took a year ago this week has proved its worth. gadhafi is gone. the libyan people are now working to constitute, under great challenge, a democratic future, a democratic system. their transition is on track. we were able to accomplish this without a single loss of american life. in a shared operation of burden-sharing after the united states played a critical role in the early days.
our nato partners and arab partners took the lead and sustained the operation with u.s. support. so i think that proved its worth. i can't speculate, sir, in all honesty, on where we may end up in any other circumstance or contingency. i know that the administration and the president fully and completely respect the role of congress in decisions on war and peace. and we will take the appropriate steps to consult and gain the appropriate authorization -- >> i would suggest to you there's a lot of bipartisan skepticism that that indeed happened. and honestly i don't think it did. and with all due respect to our allies, they didn't take the lead. we did 65% of the sorties, 40% of the combat sorties, 79% of the refueling, 99% of the air lifts. so to pretend that this was anything other than a largely american operation through nato,
that's my opinion -- now, let me ask you a question. i'll give you another one to respond on. again, going back to libya -- and i agree with you, look, gadhafi's a terrible person and i have no doubt the world's a better -- better off without him. but given the fact that he had suspended his nuclear program, his weapons of mass destruction, had turned over those materials to the united states, did not allow al qaeda to operate in his territory, had pulled back from what earlier in his career had been terrorist activity, if you were sitting in tehran or in north korea and you saw what happened to him after he did all those things, what incentive would you have to follow the same course and say we're going to get out of the nuclear weapons business? i would suggest there's probably people in those countries arguing look what happened to him the minute he cooperated with the united states. >> no, sir. i would very much disagree with that perspective because in the first instance the reason why
the united nations, nato, arab countries acted in the instance of libya was not anything to do with nuclear weapons. it had to do with an imminent threat to hundreds of thousands of civilians. >> i agree. the question is would we have acted if those weapons were there? there's serious slaughter going on in syria right now. but they also have a wmd cache and a different level of defense. and that seems to have some impact on the decisions we're making. >> i disagree. i disagree both because i think you're mixing apples and oranges in that comparison but also because i think the message to countries like iran, like north korea is that when you are as isolated as libya ultimately proved to be, when nobody in the international community would stand up and prevent the kind of multilateral action that was taken against gadhafi, and that isolation is now building with respect to iran now more than ever, north korea, that's not a
situation you want to be in. so i would actually take the opposite lesson -- >> we have a very different view. because if i were them, i would hang on to my weapons before i would abandon them given that action. >> so what is the conclusion you draw from that? that we shouldn't have done libya because it -- >> well, first of all, i would have liked to have a full debate on libya in the congress of the united states, which we did not have. to commit forces on that scale with no debate, no discussion, and no congressional authorization i think is unconscionable. that's my view. >> but going back -- you're making a point about nuclear weapons. would doing nothing in libya have sent a better message to iran and north korea? >> i don't know. my time's up. i'd love to pursue it later. but thank you, ambassador. >> mr. rothman. >> thank you, madam chairman. dr. rice, it's great to have you with us. and thank you for your outstanding work at the u.n.
>> thank you, sir. >> not only in standing strong for the united states of america and our interests but for the interests of the united states' most important allies and friends. thank you so much for your work, your good work, and effective work. i do have a question about unesco. and i understand the point that you were making that there will be consequences to the palestinians for going against the u.s.'s advice and directive not to pursue independence through the united nations. and then avoiding direct negotiations with the state of israel. the most important strategic ally and friend the united states has in that region. but what are the consequences, or what would the consequences be to -- under a waiver to unesco, the body that actually voted in favor of the palestinians' request? i've got a couple of these, dr. rice.