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Well, thank you very much (inaudible). Thank you, and I apologize to all of my colleagues for being a little bit late. I’m sorry about that.
But it is an enormous honor to be part of this event, which is the first of its kind in the history of the United Nations, and I think we should take pride in that. I thank the Foreign Minister of the Netherlands, who I visited with in Washington just last week, and all of our colleagues who are here for joining together in an historic statement.
We really do send a clear and compelling message by coming together today, and it’s not just in support of gays and lesbians around the world; it’s really in support of the founding values of this institution.
When the United Nations was formed, the founders declared this purpose: “to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, and in the dignity and worth of the human person.” The human person, not one human person, not certain human persons, but the human person, all people. And for too long, with respect to affirming the dignity of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender persons, this organization fell short of meeting that obligation, as did many entities in the world and many of our countries. With our work together over the past several years, we have made almost unfathomable progress in the rapidity with which people have come to break down walls of injustice and barriers of prejudice, really quite stunning. And I think we should all acknowledge that we are living up to, in this initiative and in other efforts that have taken place in the past years, the founding principles of the United Nations, and in many ways, the universal values that organize many of our societies.
For its part, the United States and the Obama Administration is fully committed to this work. I took personal satisfaction this past year when the United States Supreme Court overturned Section 3 of DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act – and I say personal satisfaction because I was one of 14 senators who voted against that when it was passed – and that prevented federal recognition of same-sex marriages. That decision paves the way for policies and programs that support all married couples, regardless of their sexual orientation.
We also believe the United Nations is a powerful platform to advance our support for the human rights of LGBT persons. Advancing equality for LGBT persons isn’t just the right thing to do. It’s also fundamental to advancing democracy and human rights, which are at the foundation of American foreign policy, and I think the foreign policy of most of our colleagues, if not all of our colleagues here. We all know that as societies become more inclusive, they become better partners within the global community, and they become partners, all of whom are joined together by common values and common interests.
That is why we put such weight behind the unprecedented Human Rights Council resolution two years ago affirming LGBT rights. It’s also why we co-authored, along with Colombia and Slovenia, a joint statement in support of these efforts that was signed by 85 UN members.
But this moment has to be more than a moment to simply celebrate how far we have come, or the historic nature of this particular event. When people continue to be harassed, arrested or even murdered simply because of who they are or who they love or what they believe, how their lives are organized and structured, then we have to recommit to our work together. In too many places around the world, LGBT persons are still punished for simply exercising their fundamental rights and freedoms.
The Global Equality Fund is one way in which likeminded countries can address this injustice and show their support for LGBT persons. Since the United States launched the Fund in 2011, it has allocated over 7 million in more than 50 countries worldwide. And the investments have helped to challenge the discriminatory laws that undermine human rights and bolster – and to bolster civil society organizations that defend those rights.
With support from a range of likeminded governments, including Netherlands, Norway, France, Germany, Iceland, Finland, Denmark, and private sector partners as well, we are expanding the scope of the programs that this Fund supports. Earlier this month, President Obama and the Prime Minister of Sweden Fredrik Reinfeldt announced an additional $12 million for this effort. And today, I’m happy to announce another 1 million contribution from The Netherlands, and we’re grateful to you for that.
We hope that every ally of LGBT persons around the world, including governments and corporations, are going to join us in this important work. And it’s very, very clear that if we continue to work as we have been, if we come together at events like this and others, we do send a message of solidarity with LGBT persons around the world, and we strengthen their ability – some of them in very tough places – to be able to exercise their fundamental human rights.
As we think about our work ahead, we would do well to remember the fundamental challenge of the United Nations. Nearly 70 years ago, this body was created, quote, “to promote social progress and better standards of life, in larger freedom.” There are few areas where I think our task is so clear, and what we need to do is make sure that we are working for that larger freedom for all people, and for the rights and the dignity of LGBT persons around the world.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Just two weeks ago, no one thought this was in the vicinity of possible. After close consultation with the P3, the Russians have agreed to support a strong, binding and enforceable resolution that unites the pressure and focus of the international community on the Syrian regime to ensure the elimination of Syria's chemical weapons.This is historic and unprecedented because it puts oversight of the Assad regime's compliance under international control and it's the first UNSCR to declare that the use of chemical weapons is a threat to peace and security. Equally as important, it makes absolutely clear that failure of the Assad regime to comply will have consequences. Later this evening there will be a full consultation with the UNSC to discuss text.
The Security Council,
PP1. Recalling the Statements of its President of 3 August 2011, 21 March 2012, 5 April 2012, and its resolutions 1540 (2004), 2042 (2012) and 2043 (2012),
PP2. Reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic,
PP3. Reaffirming that the proliferation of chemical weapons, as well as their means of delivery, constitutes a threat to international peace and security,
PP4. Recalling that the Syrian Arab Republic on 22 November 1968 acceded to the Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare, signed at Geneva on 17 June 1925,
PP5. Noting that on 14 September 2013, Syria deposited with the Secretary-General its instrument of accession to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction (Convention) and declared that it shall comply with its stipulations and observe them faithfully and sincerely, applying the Convention provisionally pending its entry into force for the Syrian Arab Republic,
PP6. Welcoming the establishment by the Secretary-General of the United Nations Mission to Investigate Allegations of the Use of Chemical Weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic ("the Mission") pursuant to General Assembly resolution 42/37 C (1987) of 30 November 1987, and reaffirmed by resolution 620 (1988) of 26 August 1988, and expressing appreciation for the work of the Mission,
PP7. Acknowledging the report of 16 September 2013(S/2013/553) by the Mission, underscoring the need for the Mission to fulfill its mandate, and emphasizing that future credible allegations of chemical weapons use in the Syrian Arab Republic should be investigated,
PP8. Deeply outraged by the use of chemical weapons on 21 August 2013 in Rif Damascus, as concluded in the Mission's report, condemning the killing of civilians that resulted from it, affirming that the use of chemical weapons constitutes a serious violation of international law, and stressing that those responsible for any use of chemical weapons must be held accountable,
PP9. Recalling the obligation under resolution 1540 (2004)that all States shall refrain from providing any form of support to non-State actors that attempt to develop, acquire, manufacture, possess, transport, transfer or use weapons of mass destruction, including chemical weapons, and their means of delivery,
PP10. Welcoming the Framework for Elimination of Syrian Chemical Weapons dated 14 September 2013, in Geneva, between the Russian Federation and the United States of America (S/2013/565), with a view to ensuring the destruction of the Syrian Arab Republic's chemical weapons program in the soonest and safest manner, and expressing its commitment to the immediate international control over chemical weapons and their components in the Syrian Arab Republic,
PP11. Welcoming the decision of the Executive Council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) of establishing special procedures for the expeditious destruction of the Syrian Arab Republic's chemical weapons program and stringent verification thereof, and expressing its determination to ensure the destruction of the Syrian Arab Republic's chemical weapons program according to the timetable contained in the OPCW Executive Council decision of,
PP12. Stressing that the only solution to the current crisis in the Syrian Arab Republic is through an inclusive and Syrian-led political process based on the Geneva Communiqué of 30 June 2012, and emphasising the need to convene the international conference on Syria as soon as possible,
PP13. Determining that the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic constitutes a threat to international peace and security,
PP14. Underscoring that Member States are obligated under Article 25 of the Charter of the United Nations to accept and carry out the Council's decisions,
1. Determines that the use of chemical weapons anywhere constitutes a threat to international peace and security;
2. Condemns in the strongest terms any use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic, in particular the attack on 21 August 2013, in violation of international law;
3. Endorses the decision of the OPCW Executive Council, which contains special procedures for the expeditious destruction of the Syrian Arab Republic's chemical weapons program and stringent verification thereof and calls for its full implementation in the most expedient and safest manner;
4. Decides that the Syrian Arab Republic shall not use, develop, produce, otherwise acquire, stockpile or retain chemical weapons, or transfer, directly or indirectly, chemical weapons to other States or non-State actors;
5. Underscores that no party in Syria should use, develop, produce, acquire, stockpile, retain, or transfer chemical weapons;
6. Decides that the Syrian Arab Republic shall comply with all aspects of the decision of the OPCW Executive Council of (Annex I);
7. Decides that the Syrian Arab Republic shall cooperate fully with the OPCW and the United Nations, including by complying with their relevant recommendations, by accepting personnel designated by the OPCW or the United Nations, by providing for and ensuring the security of activities undertaken by these personnel, by providing these personnel with immediate and unfettered access to and the right to inspect, in discharging their functions, any and all sites, and by allowing immediate and unfettered access to individuals that the OPCW has grounds to believe to be of importance for the purpose of its mandate, and decides that all parties in Syria shall cooperate fully in this regard;
8. Decides to authorize an advance team of United Nations personnel to provide early assistance to OPCW activities in Syria, requests the Director-General of the OPCW and the Secretary-General to closely cooperate in the implementation of the Executive Council decision of and this resolution, including through their operational activities on the ground, and further requests the Secretary-General, in consultation with the Director-General of the OPCW and, where appropriate, the Director-General of the World Health Organization, to submit to the Council within 10 days of the adoption of this resolution recommendations regarding the role of the United Nations in eliminating the Syrian Arab Republic's chemical weapons program;
9. Notes that the Syrian Arab Republic is a party to the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations, decides that OPCW-designated personnel undertaking activities provided for in this resolution or the decision of the OPCW Executive Council of shall enjoy the privileges and immunities contained in the Verification Annex, Part II(B) of the Chemical Weapons Convention, and calls on the Syrian Arab Republic to conclude modalities agreements with the United Nations and the OPCW;
10. Encourages Member States to provide support, including personnel, technical expertise, information, equipment, and financial and other resources and assistance, in coordination with the Director-General of the OPCW and the Secretary-General, to enable the OPCW and the United Nations to implement the elimination of the Syrian Arab Republic's chemical weapons program, and decides to authorize Member States to acquire, control, transport, transfer and destroy chemical weapons identified by the Director-General of the OPCW, consistent with the objective of the Chemical Weapons Convention, to ensure the elimination of the Syrian Arab Republic's chemical weapons program in the soonest and safest manner;
11. Urges all Syrian parties and interested Member States with relevant capabilities to work closely together and with the OPCW and the United Nations to arrange for the security of the monitoring and destruction mission, recognizing the primary responsibility of the Syrian government in this regard;
12. Decides to review on a regular basis the implementation in the Syrian Arab Republic of the decision of the OPCW Executive Council and this resolution, and requests the Director-General of the OPCW to report to the Security Council, through the Secretary-General, who shall include relevant information on United Nations activities related to the implementation of this resolution, within 30 days and every month thereafter, and requests further the Director-General of the OPCW and the Secretary-General to report in a coordinated manner, as needed, to the Security Council, non-compliance with this resolution or the OPCW Executive Council decision of;
13. Reaffirms its readiness to consider promptly any reports of the OPCW under Article VIII of the Chemical Weapons Convention, which provides for the referral of cases of non-compliance to the United Nations Security Council;
14. Decides that Member States shall inform immediately the Security Council of any violation of resolution 1540 (2004), including acquisition by non-State actors of chemical weapons, their means of delivery and related materials in order to take necessary measures therefore;
15. Expresses its strong conviction that those individuals responsible for the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic should be held accountable;
16. Endorses fully the Geneva Communiqué of 30 June 2012 (Annex II), which sets out a number of key steps beginning with the establishment of a transitional governing body exercising full executive powers, which could include members of the present Government and the opposition and other groups and shall be formed on the basis of mutual consent;
17. Calls for the convening, as soon as possible, of an international conference on Syria to implement the Geneva Communiqué, and calls upon all Syrian parties to engage seriously and constructively at the Geneva Conference on Syria, and underscores that they should be fully representative of the Syrian people and committed to the implementation of the Geneva Communiqué and to the achievement of stability and reconciliation;
18. Reaffirms that all Member States shall refrain from providing any form of support to non-State actors that attempt to develop, acquire, manufacture, possess, transport, transfer or use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and their means of delivery, and calls upon all Member States, in particular Member States neighbouring the Syrian Arab Republic, to report any violations of this paragraph to the Security Council immediately;
19. Demands that non-State actors not develop, acquire, manufacture, possess, transport, transfer, or use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and their means of delivery, and calls upon all Member States, in particular Member States neighbouring the Syrian Arab Republic, to report any actions inconsistent with this paragraph to the Security Council immediately;
20. Decides that all Member States shall prohibit the procurement of chemical weapons, related equipment, goods and technology or assistance from the Syrian Arab Republic by their nationals, or using their flagged vessels or aircraft, whether or not originating in the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic;
21. Decides, in the event of non-compliance with this resolution, including unauthorized transfer of chemical weapons, or any use of chemical weapons by anyone in the Syrian Arab Republic, to impose measures under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter;
22. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.Britain's UN ambassador says key powers reach accord on UN resolution on Syria weapons.Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov tells Reuters that Russia has reached an understanding with the US on the UN Security Council's Syria resolution.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L), Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (center L), European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton (center L) and Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (R) are seated during a meeting of the foreign ministers representing the permanent five member countries of the United Nations Security Council, including Germany, at UN Headquarters in New York September 26, 2013. Iran's new government began its first talks on its nuclear program with the United States and five other world powers on Thursday, with the Iranian foreign minister taking a seat next to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in a rare high-level contact between the two long-estranged nations. (Reuters/Brendan McDermid)
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (R) are seated during a meeting of the foreign ministers representing the permanent five member countries of the United Nations Security Council, including Germany, at UN Headquarters in New York September 26, 2013. (Reuters/Brendan McDermid)
SHEERAN: Well, Mr. President, we thank you very much for those remarks. And I know on behalf of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Asia Society, we're very pleased that you decided to partake in the only public session during your time here in a meeting with the public, and we think it's very important. And we're also very pleased that you've agreed to take questions not only from this very distinguished group here, but also from others who are with us via Facebook and Twitter, and we're getting many questions. I think I have over 40
questions for you.
But I just want to start, because you really ended...
ROUHANI: Forty or fourteen?
And more will come in, I'm sure. You're nearing the end of your first trip as president here to the United States, and you talked about ushering in a new era of relations, and you just spoke again about opening a window of opportunity.
President Obama, in his speech at the United Nations, mentioned Iran 26 times. Was there something you heard in that speech that made you feel that there is a window that has opened? And when you go back home, what will you report back to the supreme leader and others in Iran about what you have seen here and learned here about this new era?
ROUHANI (through translator): I, too, feel that a new era has been created around the world, as it has inside Iran, a new atmosphere, I would say. In fact, the exciting elections that took place and the vote of the people in Iran for moderation and wisdom and hope and prudence has led to a new -- the creation of a new atmosphere for engagement and interaction with the entire world.
In the series of speeches that I have delivered at the U.N. General Assembly, and on the sideline meetings that I held with a number of world leaders, as well as a number of European leaders, I have arrived at the conclusion that the atmosphere is different completely from the past. I felt that the will demonstrated by Iran as a result of its recent elections to look more towards the future, rather than in the past, is a vision that is also shared among Western leaders.
What I can say to the people of Iran and their representatives and the authorities in the country, as well as the supreme leader, is that today the world atmosphere, as I see it, is much better than the past. Even in America, it's much better than the past. And the sense of being prepared to watch us take serious steps forward, not only to settle what has happened in the past, but more importantly to move forward to realize the common interest that await us from materialization (ph), I think if I keep on talking with so lengthy -- at such length, we'll have to have breakfast by the time I end up answering all 40 questions.