Subject: USGOV: Feingold questions Bolton on E Timor

[Timor excerpt only]


JULY 27, 2006

Senator Russell FEINGOLD (D-WI): Right.

On June 19th of this year, you told the press that you did not see the need for an expanded United Nations mission in East Timor, despite the severe breakdown of the new national security forces that took place in April and May.

And the next day, the U.S. voted for a Security Council resolution requesting a report on the role for the United Nations in Timor-Leste, taking into account the current situation, the need for a strengthened presence of the United Nations.

How would you characterize this apparent discrepancy between your statements to the press and the later official U.S. position?

BOLTON: Well, I don't know what you're quoting from, but I know there were statements at the time that the U.N. dad left East Timor prematurely.

And I, in response to a question, I said I didn't think that the current difficulties in East Timor had anything to do with the reason for the earlier U.N. presence in East Timor, which was the independence struggle from Indonesia.

I made the comment in response to that kind of question.

So I think it was addressing the historical circumstances, but it was not related to the current situation, where we are actively consulting with Australia and other key countries to determine exactly what the appropriate U.N. response is to the outbreak of violence in East Timor.

FEINGOLD: Well, other questions today have had to do with the importance that our government being consistent in its message.

FEINGOLD: So this issue about East Timor relates to that concern...

BOLTON: If you could show me the quotation, Senator, I'll be happy to take a look at it again.

FEINGOLD: Talking about your quotation?


FEINGOLD: I will be happy to get that for you, but first I want to do a follow-up question.

I understand that East Timor will be a focus of the Security Council in August to discuss the report findings and determine the possible need for a larger U.N. presence.

If the report calls for an expanded U.N. force, would you support it, and what do you consider to be the appropriate role for the international community in East Timor?

BOLTON: Well, I'd have to look at the entire report, and obviously, consult within the government. I don't make these decisions on my own. I follow instructions from Washington.

As I said to you a moment ago, we've been in very close touch with the Australians, particularly their permanent representative, who is a former minister of defense of Australia, to be sure that our policy is closely coordinated with that government, given their troops on the ground. And I would expect that we would want to stay in very close touch with them and align our policies, and I would expect that's what will happen.

FEINGOLD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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