Secretary-General's press encounter
New York, 4 December 2006Q: John Bolton has resigned. Your thoughts on his term here; relationship with you; I know at times it was stormy.
SG: I think Ambassador Bolton did the job he was expected to do. He came at a time when we had lots of tough issues. As a representative of the US government he pressed ahead with the instructions that he had been given, and tried to work as effectively as he could with the other ambassadors.
Q: Did he do enough for the organization, or was he trying to chop down its effectiveness, do you feel, at times?
SG: I think it is difficult to blame one individual ambassador for difficulties on some of these issues, whether it is reform or some other issues. But I think what I have always maintained is that it is important that the ambassadors work together, that the ambassadors understand that to get concessions, they have to make concessions, and they need to work with each other for the organization to move ahead. I am also constantly encouraging Member States to try and speak with one voice where it is possible, particularly in the Security Council, because a united voice is much more powerful than a divided one.
Q: So now both you and he will not be in the UN system, ironically, in a few weeks.
SG: Yes, we are both graduating together.
Q: Secretary-General, on Iraq, you seem to have now decided it is a civil war. What made you determine that it is a civil war, and is it really a worse situation than under Saddam Hussein?
SG: I think I have said what I needed to say, and that I don't need to repeat it. I think I gave an explanation as to why?
Q: Well the last time you spoke to us at the stakeout you said it was “on the verge of.” How would you describe it now?
SG: Well, I think I described in what I said yesterday that, when you look at the situation on the ground and the difficulties that the Iraqis have been facing and the divisions between the various camps, you are in a civil war situation.