Skip to main content

tv   Ambassador Samantha Power Testimony on U.S. Interests at the U.N.  CSPAN  June 22, 2015 1:34am-2:54am EDT

1:34 am
[applause] i am the ranking member, which means leader of the opposition in the senate, on the budget committee. i want to say a word about the republican budget that passed last month. i will tell you this because the media forgot to talk about it. [laughter] and it is important that we talk about it for the following reasons. i am perhaps the most progressive member of the united states senate. [applause] and so, it should not be surprising that i have disagreements with all republicans on almost every issue. not surprising. but here is what -- this is what
1:35 am
the republican budget did. the reason i raise that to you is because i do not mind, as the most progressive member of the senate being opposed to the billionaire class and all of their friends. i accept their hatred with joy. [applause] because if they hate me, and what i stand for then i know i am doing something right. [applause] but this is what i do not accept. and that is too many working-class, middle-class people continue to vote against their own best interests.
1:36 am
i want to say to the republicans in colorado. i want them to tell me whether they think this budget of the republicans makes sense. and here it is. 35 million people without any health insurance, what the republican budget did was throw an additional 27 million people off of health insurance. and when i ask, because i do, my republican colleagues, when you throw 27 million people off of health insurance, how many of them will die? how many of them will become much is sicker than they would have been if they had insurance? there is no response. and so i say to our republican
1:37 am
friends here working people in colorado, you tell me if it is a good idea that millions of men, women, and children are thrown off of health insurance. we talked about the fact that working-class, middle-class families are finding it harder and harder to pay for a college education for their kids. what the republican budget did over a ten-year. was cut pell grants by $90 billion. and i say to republicans here in colorado and across this country, families that are struggling to send their kids to college, whether they think it makes sense to make massive cuts to the most important federal aid program for college students.
1:38 am
the republican party in their budget at a time when millions of families are struggling to feed their kids, made massive cuts in nutrition programs. do my republican friends here in colorado think that kids should go hungry in america? i don't think they do. i really don't think that they do. furthermore, we have had a number of republican candidates for president who want to cut social security. cut medicare. so what our job is, is to get the word out that our republican friends to stop voting for the billionaire class and start voting for themselves. [applause]
1:39 am
all of us are aware that in this country we have made progress in a number of areas in terms of becoming less discriminatory. in terms of civil rights in terms of women's rights, in terms of gay rights. all of us know that a lot more must be done. it is not acceptable, that young african-americans are walking down a street in a city in america and are being brutalized by police. that has got to end. [applause]
1:40 am
i was a mayor for eight years and we worked very closely with the police department. police officers have an enormously difficult job and most of them do their job honestly and as well as they can. that's right. [applause] it is a very tough job. but when a police officer or any other public official commits a crime, that crime must be punished. [applause] let me, you have all been very patient as i have rambled on. let me conclude, let me conclude by saying this. i will come back to where i started. i what you did think big, not small. i want you to understand that it is not utopian thinking to say that every man woman, and child
1:41 am
should have health care. it is not utopian thinking to say that working families should have quality, affordable childcare. it is not utopian thinking to say that college education should be available to all. [applause] we can do these things and more. we can create the greatest nation that anyone has ever seen. [applause] if we stand together. if we do not let people divide us by race, by whether we were born in america or born in mexico, whether we are gay or straight. [applause] i look forward to working with you all.
1:42 am
in creating the political revolution that this country needs. thank you all. thank you all very much. [applause] [cheering] ♪
1:43 am
>> on the next washington journal, ron pollack, executive director of families usa will examine the impact of the ruling against the obama administration in the kings versus farewell gaze could have on health care. howard rosen executive director of trade adjustment assistance coalition, talks about the trade adjustment assistance program. the federal program that provides aid to u.s. workers that have lost their jobs as a result of or in trade. as always, we will take your calls and you can join the conversation on facebook and twitter. washington journal, live at 7:00 a.m. eastern on seas.
1:44 am
-- on c-span. congress is back this week prior to a fourth of july break. the senate returns on monday at 3:00 p.m. eastern time. around 530, they will vote on two nominations. this week's desk this week senators will continue work on fast track trade promotion authority which was passed last week by the house. that measure faces a key procedural vote on tuesday. house returns on tuesday for legislative business with bills related to home security and medicaid spending. later in the week, they will take up carbon pollution entered and funding for the interior department. also, depending on action in the senate, there could be further consideration of trade legislation. as always, you can watch the house live on easement, the senate live on c-span two. >> monday night, on the
1:45 am
communicators, cochair of the rational privacy caucus, joe barton on the recent fcc regulation roles in the interest of privacy and cyber security. >> you have got the basic principle, whose information is it? is it automatically in the public domain because i choose to use a mobile app? we know that the way these things were, they go into the cloud and all of that. or can i use it and still have a reasonable explanation -- expectation of personal privacy. if you take the latter view, it is personal, that changes the way that you regulate and the way that you legislate. if you take the position that i am by participating and using the app, i am forgoing my individual rights to privacy that is a different issue in its
1:46 am
entirety. >> monday night at 8:00, public communicators on c-span2. >> this week, you and ambassador samantha powers testified at a congressional hearing about the role of the u.s. at the united nations. she answered questions about how she plans to use her position to further u.s. interests and the un's role in iran nuclear negotiations. iran nuclear negotiations. this is just over two hours. >> this hearing will come to order and this morning we look at the role of the united nations and we look at the role of the u.s. there with ambassador samantha power. she has spent two years as the u.s. permanent representative to
1:47 am
the u.n. and the ambassador has approached her job with great energy, great determination and perhaps best shown during last year's ebola crisis in west africa and in that case the administration and congress worked together to contain ebola and to save lives. ambassador, thank you for those efforts and thank you for joining us today and the ambassador's testimony comes at an important time. if a final iran nuclear agreement is reached and the deadline is in two weeks, then the security council will be expected to remove international sanctions while preserving the ability to react to iranian cheating and given all we know about the history of iran's nuclear program, cheating should be expected, the committee wants to know how in a case of cheating how a snapback process would work. we know russia and china wouldn't make this easy and i've
1:48 am
never known any u.n. process described as taking place in a snap. last week's revelation by a panel of u.n. experts that there has been not a single report of iran violating the u.n. arms embargo not only lacks any credibility, but calls into serious question the chances of the u.n. snapping back any sanctions. the committee is disturbed to watch the u.n.'s anti-israel bias especially in the human rights council. more disturbing is that the obama administration seems to be on the brink of discarding decades of bipartisan support of israel against the u.n. onslaught. president obama has raised the dramatic step of allowing the security council to impose conditions related to a two-state solution rather than supporting negotiations between the parties themselves. ambassador as we wrote to you
1:49 am
the other month, an imposed plan will not get us closer to peace. nearby, syrians are being slaughtered before the world's eyes. two years ago the united nations called the crisis in syria the worst humanitarian disaster since the rwandan genocide. yet, despite several u.n. resolutions, the assad regime continues its indiscriminate barrel bombing and chemical weapons attacks. those responsible for these war crimes must be held accountable. ambassador, you have said this to your credit, but when -- when will that accountability come. the committee hears testimony tomorrow from some of the brave >> to a side of war and attacks.
1:50 am
elsewhere, religious minorities are under attack. unable to claim citizenship in burma or elsewhere, many have called them the moost persecuted people on earth. burma's persecutions had -- have led thousands to flee to overloaded boats. many are rightly bothered by the united nations poor track record in protecting these people. young muslim girls can fake that they are finding safe haven but end up being trafficked. being sexually exploited. being led into a lifetime of misery. united nations peacekeeping, either way, despite many shortcomings, has managed to protect innocent civilians and minorities in recent years. the mission in the democratic republic of congo, and itself the sudan have saved lives.
1:51 am
the committee wants to continue working with the ambassador to see that these missions are appropriately supported and we hope that something can be done for the people. that is easier if failing missions some decades-old, are closed and the her and a are tackled head-on. you and reform should not be limited to peacekeeping. this summer, when the un's scale of assessments is reviewed, i trust the u.s. delegation will be working to spread the burden and give major donors traders say in management decisions. ambassador power you will be wrestling with many critical issues in the coming months. to say you have a difficult and even hostile environment at the u.n. is an understatement. you do not appear to be one to shy away from a challenge. i look forward to continuing to work with you on these pressing matters. we thank you again with being with us today and i will now turn to mr. eliot engel for his
1:52 am
opening statement. mr. engel: thank you mr. chairman for holding this hearing and ambassador power welcome. thank you for your testimony today. more importantly, for your distinguished service. as far as i am concerned, you are the right person at the right time to be our you and ambassador and we are lucky to have you. across seven decades, the united nations has done a great deal of good. million saved from starvation, diseased by smallpox, peacekeeping missions that have brought stability to war-torn regions. at the same time, we must technology at the u.n. is far from perfect. we need to improve the organization's management. enhancing transparency and strengthen internal oversight. we must continue to speak out forcefully when member states in you is the u.n. is a platform to an -- to unfairly single out
1:53 am
israel. in my mind, the best way to address these problems is to maintain our engagement with the organization. u.s. leadership at the u.n. has headed off deeply biased and one-sided resolutions targeting israel. we cast the one lone vote. we have helped to scale back the anti-israel efforts. the human rights council has been a joke. we have pushed back against the resolution rec palestinian statehood and we have rejected efforts by the palestinians to use the u.n. to gain concessions from israel outside of the context of negotiations. i want to thank you madame abbasid or because u.s. been such a champion for israel. the israeli ambassador to the u.n. said last year -- said last week that if it was not for the help of the unite -- of the united states, and yours personally, they would be in real trouble.
1:54 am
it undermines the credibility of the united nations. i will that i am confident that you will continue to make clear that the united states will continue to oppose any biased or one-sided resolutions that the u.n. and that we will not shy away from using our veto at the security council if necessary despite some of the rhetoric we have heard from president obama. even with strong american involvement, he u.n. has been virtually paralyzed when it comes to a range of challenges around the world because other members of the security council continue to block meaningful action. i would like to mention just a few. i am eager to hear your views on these topics. i will start with the civil war in syria. half of the population of that country has been displaced. entire generations are growing up in refugee camps. the u.n. has done a lot for refugee families in jordan lebanon, and turkey and most of the assistants for the syrian people inside syria has flowed through the u.n. but russia's intransigence has
1:55 am
prevented syria from having a better future for its country. that is the tip of the future for russia. under the president teputin's leadership threatens democracy across europe. tens of thousands wounded and more than a million displaced. we need to expose the kremlin's live whenever we can't. so i commend you for shunning -- for shining the light on the hard facts of the when regarding iran, we are all eager to see the comprehensive nuclear deal and what it will look like. i am concerned about who will determine if iran is in violation of the agreement. what happens if we think that iran has stepped over the line but russia and china disagree? i am also concerned about how and when you and sanctions against iran will be lifted. the yuan is going to have a big
1:56 am
role to play and i eat 30 year your views about how this process will move forward. finally in our own neighborhood, i am very pleased that the mandate of the yuan international commission against impunity in guatemala which recently renewed creating similar commissions in honduras and el salvador and it will make a big difference in corruption and impunity. ambassador power thank you again for appearing today and i look forward to your testimony. >> this morning, we are pleased to be joined by ambassador samantha powers. she is the united states personal presented at -- personal representative to the u.n. prior to her appointment at the u.n., she served as special assistant to the president and senior director for multilateral affairs and went right on the national security staff at the white house. ambassador power is the pulitzer prize-winning author of a problem from hell: america and
1:57 am
the age of genocide. we thank you for being with us today and without objection, the witness's full prepared statement will be made part of the record. ambassador power, i would ask if you could please summarize your remarks and we will go to questions. thank you. ambassador power: thank you mr. chairman. thank you congressman engel. distinguished members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify today and think you for being here. thank you also for your leadership in advancing america's national security interests and our values in the world. lastly, i traveled to ukraine where i had the chance to see up close what happens when the rules undergirding our international peace and security are ignored. at a shelter for displaced families in tf, i met a mother
1:58 am
who told me how her husband and two-year-old child had been killed in february when a shell -- struck their home in a village in eastern ukraine. the shelling, as you all know, was part of a sustained a salt by combined russian and separatist forces. the victims, just two of the within than 6000 people who have been killed in the moscow manufactured conflict. shortly after the attack, the mother fled town with her five surviving children in a van whose roof and doors had been blasted off. her plea, one i heard echoed by many of the displaced families that i met from eastern ukraine and occupied crimea was for the fighting to stop, and for their basic rights to be respected. as members of this committee know, we are living in a time of daunting global crises. in the last year alone, russia continued to train, arm, and fight a long separatist in eastern ukraine. a deadly epidemic spread across
1:59 am
west africa and monstrous terrorist groups seized territory across the middle east and north africa committing unspeakable atrocities. these are the kinds of threats that the united nations exists to prevent and address. yet it is precisely at the moment when we need the u.n. most that we see the flaws in the international system, some of them that have been alluded to already. this is true for the conflict in ukraine in which a permanent member of the un security council is violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity that it was entrusted with upholding. it is true of the global health system that despite multiple warnings of a spreading ebola outbreak including those from our own cdc, was slow to respond to the epidemic. it is true of you and peacekeepers who too often stand down or stand by when civilians they are responsible for protecting come under attack. thus leading populations
2:00 am
vulnerable and sometimes open to radicalization. representing our nation before the united nations i have to confront these and other shortcomings every day. though i am clear eyed about the un's own abilities, the central point i want to make to this committee is thatato advance its interests. we will always lead on the world age. we are more effective when we ensure that others shoulder their fair share, and when we marshal multilateral support to meet our objectives. let me quickly outlined five ways we are doing that at the u.n.. first, we are rallying multi-level to address threats in the u.s.. on a the iranian government. in 2010, the obama administration it galvanized the un's security council to
2:01 am
authorize one of the toughest multilateral sanction regimes in history. the combination of unilateral and multilateral pressure was crucial to bringing iran to the negotiating table and ultimately, to laying the foundation whereby we were able to reach a framework agreement that would, if we can get a final deal, effectively cut off every healthways for the iranian regime to develop a nuclear weapon. consider our response to the ebola epidemic. last september when people were dying outside hospitals in west africa, hospitals that had no beds left, the united states is chaired the first ever emergency meeting of the u.n. security council dedicated to a global health issue. we pressed countries to deploy doctors and nurses, to build clinics and testing labs, and to fill other gaps that helped bend the outbreaks's rising curve.
2:02 am
america did not just rally others to step up, we lead by example. thank you to the support of this congress. we deployed more than 3500 civilian and military personnel to liberia, which has been ebola freeze since early may. second, we are reforming to address the threats that exist in the 21st century. there were more than 100,000 uniformed police and soldiers deployed in the u.n.'s 16 peacekeeping missions around the world. that is a higher number than in any time in history. with more complex responsibilities than ever before. the united states has an abiding, strategic interest in resolving the conflicts where peacekeepers serve, which can quickly cause instability and attract extremist groups, as we have seen in mali. we have seen peacekeepers serve
2:03 am
with bravery and professionalism and many of the world's most dangerous environments. we have seen chronic problems -- too often, including the failure to protect civilians. we are working aggressively to address the shortfall. to give one example we are persuading more advanced militaries to step up and contribute soldiers and police to peacekeeping. that was the aim of the summit that biden convened last september where columbia, sweden, indonesia, and more than one dozen other countries announced new troop commitments. it is the message i took directly to european leaders in march when i made the case in that peacekeeping is the way forward. this coming september, president obama will convene another summit to build on this momentum and help catalyze a new wave of commitments and generate a new set of capabilities for you and he's keeping.
2:04 am
third, we are fighting to end a bias and discrimination at the u.n.. day in and day out we push back efforts to delegitimize israel at the u.n. and we fight for its right to be treated like any other nation. to help secure the permanent membership into two u.n. groups from which it had long and unjustly been excluded, to consistently and firmly opposing one-sided actions in international bodies. in december, when a deeply unbalanced draft resolution on the palestinian conflict was put before the security council, the united states successfully rallied a coalition to vote against it. this ensures that the resolution failed to achieve the nine votes of security council members required for adoption. we will continue to confront anti-israel bias wherever we encounter it. fourth, we are working to use u.n. tools to promote human
2:05 am
rights and affirm human dignity. as we did i working with partners to hold the first ever security council meeting focused on the human rights situation in north korea in december. we used that session to sign a light on the regime horrors. a light we kept shining in april with escape the victims to the regime. one woman told of being forced to watch the execution of a fellow prisoners who committed the "crime" of daring to ask why they had been imprisoned. her grandmother, her father, and her younger brother had starved to death. this is important for u.n. member states to hear. fifth, we are doing everything within our power to make the u.n. more fiscally responsible more accountable and more , nimble. because we have a responsibility to ensure american taxpayer dorel -- dollars are being spent more efficiently.
2:06 am
and because this means saving more lives and better protecting the world's most double dribbled people. we have reduced the cost her peacekeepers by 18% and we are constantly looking for ways to write size admissions in response to missions on the ground, as we will do this year through substantial drawdowns. let me conclude, at the outset i spoke of my recent visit to the ukraine. across the range of ukrainians i met, from the mother who lost her family from the russian separatist forces, to the brave students who risk their lives to take part in the protesters against the government, to the younger members of parliament looking to fight corruption and increase transparency. what united them was the yearning for certain basic rights and the belief that the united states could it lead
2:07 am
other countries and the united nations and helping to make their aspirations a reality. i heard the same sentiment when visiting the u.n. run camps of people displaced by violence in south sudan and in the ebola-effected communities. some may view the expectation that america can help people overcome their greatest challenges and secure their greatest rights as a burden. in fact, that expectation is one of our nation's greatest strengths and when we have a vested interest in striving to look -- live up to. nothing as it may feel. we cannot do it along dust do it alone nor should we want to. it is important that we use the u.n. to rally the multilateral support needed to confront the myriad of challenges. thank you and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you, ambassador. i have had frequent
2:08 am
conversations on the issue of iranian weapons capabilities. i indicated this would be the primary focus of this committee. trying to prevent what i worry the -- what i worry will be the capability of iran. i what to speak to you about the snap-backed sanctions. if we have cheating on the part of iran as they have cheated on every other agreement so far, i would presume is going to be a real problem if we go forward and we do not get the verification in this agreement that has to be in the agreement. now we take up this dispute-resolution panel as it is called. this issue that would include the six powers and iran. the international atomic agency would continue reporting on iran's program under this suggestion here.
2:09 am
here is my question. you have russia and china playing a role. so, it is not clear to me how u.n. sanctions would realistically snap-back once the cheating is found. i would add the caviet that we would probably see a situation where russian, chinese, german, french companies are back and in iran. commerce is flowing. it will be very difficult to stop. certainly not at a snap. walk me through that, if you would. power: thank you, mr. chairman. first, let me very much agree with the comment you made earlier that nothing that happens at the u.n. tends to happen in a snap. i have lived through that first hand. let me also underscore that president obama and the entire
2:10 am
negotiating team, and myself as a member of the administration embrace your premise that we cannot trust on the basis of past iranian actions, on the basis of current iranian actions, outside the nuclear sphere. i think there are two very important aspects you touched upon. to elaborate, that show that any agreement we reach would be predicated in fact on a lack of trust. the first is in fact, the most intrusive inspect of regimes imaginable. the ability to monitor what is happening along the nuclear supply chain, to an unprecedented extent forever commitments related to the additional protocol and the modified code. these are things that are going to last well beyond the life of this agreement.
2:11 am
i think what is important about it is it is about recognizing that there are of course dangerous covert capabilities being brought all mind. that's again, is what this inspected regime is oriented around. the second manifestation is the snap-back mechanism. one snap-back mechanism is within our own hands. there are many sanctions the president can snap-back with a stroke of a pen. in my world, president obama has been very clear from the beginning that we cannot allow a procedure for snap-back to be left in the hands of russia or china. for the very reason that you indicate. it is true that we were able to get the multilateral sanctions regime through the council. the toughest in the 70 year
2:12 am
history of the united nations. it does not therefore follows that in the event of a breach we , would not be able to get that resolution through a second time. i cannot get into the specifics of the mechanism right now because we are at a very delicate stage in the negotiation and all of this is being worked through to the finest detail, i can say number one, congress will be briefed as soon as the deal is done, if it gets done. number two, we will not support a snap-back mechanism or an agreement that includes a snap-back mechanism that leaves us for horrible in a manner you are fearful of. we will retain the ability to snap-backed sanctions without russian or chinese the port. royce: i think that has to be the focus because it took so many years for the international sanctions to be put in place so
2:13 am
that those companies terminated their business with iran. now we have a situation resulted of the way this has been negotiated. where they are all waiting to position themselves to get back into the country. the other aspect of this, as you say, we are going to have an effective sanctions regime. that would imply what the iranians are telling the world. there will not be any investigation on their military bases. the international inspectors will not have access to those types of sites. that is where they have done a lot of their training, their testing is on those military sites. that would put us in the precarious position. an agreement that would be like the 94 framework agreement with north korea. without the ability of international inspectors to go
2:14 am
into those types of sites, the cheating would be, in a case like that, not even detectable. again, this is why 367 members of this body, the majority of our colleagues on one side of the aisle, and the best side on the other side of the aisle, in other words, an overwhelming majority of this institution have written a letter to the president saying, we do have to have the international inspectors have the ability to go on the military bases anytime, anywhere. that has to be in the negotiation. let me raise another issue as well. that is an issue i know you spent a lot of time on at the united nations. despite the deal with russia, to remove the chemical weapons, it is clear he still has some of them. it is clear he is still using them. especially having them dropped on alleppo.
2:15 am
what can the u.n. do, in particular the security council here, to effectively confront the crisis in syria? i will just ask you for your thoughts, but will also mention that last month ranking member engel and i offered a successful amendment to the policy bill directing the pentagon to closely examine a no-fly zone over. 's skies. this will especially relate to the civilian areas that have been routinely bombarded. of course, the united states to not do this on its own. it needs strong support and participation by its allies and partners in the region. many have them been asking, and offering, by the way. they have been asking for this step -- a no-fly zone that will protect the civilian population
2:16 am
there. tell me about your engagement on that issue and where that might stand in the united nations. power: let me, if i could, they comment on your comment on iran. to simply say that there has been a lot of rhetoric from lisa -- from visa preen -- from the supreme leader, from the iranian president, from many in iran. it is not helpful for us to get into the psychology of what any particular iranian leader is doing or saying. royce: ambassador, it is not difficult to interpret what he is trying to message when he starts the mornings with rallies, "death to america." i am interpreting that he means what he is saying in these cases. power: all i wanted to underscore before returning to your comments is, president obama will not accept a deal in which we do not get the access that we need in order to verify compliance.
2:17 am
royce: thank you, we want to hold the president to that. power: i'm sure you will. in syria, let me address the chemical weapons issue. because of the credible threat of military force back in 2013, we were able to forge an agreement with the russians, one of the rare instances. as you know, they have used their veto four times on syrian-related issues -- including a referral on some of the worst atrocities we have seen since the world war ii. they vetoed that. they vetoed a very mild condemnatory language. we live their alliance with the syrian regime every day. i mentioned in my opening remarks, ukraine and the reverse consequences.
2:18 am
to see a veto holder use its veto in this disgraceful way is extremely disturbing. however in this one instance, we were able to team up in order to get this dismantling regime put in place. they stepped up at together. they built the airplane as they flew it. as a result, we have the removal and-or destruction of 100% of the declared syrian chemical weapons program. you're absolutely right. we have alarming and rave -- and grave reports that the syrians seemingly are incapable of fighting without drawing on chemical weapons have now found a new way, even with the dismantlement of their declared chemical weapons regime. this is to turn chlorine into a chemical weapon. we are pushing in the security council.
2:19 am
we have secured another resolution again, somehow getting russian support to make it clear to the world that just because chlorine is a household product does not make it a chemical weapon when it is dropped on civilians in a bomb. we hope that would be a deterrent. we are now at the point in which we need accountability for these crimes. we are pushing, i do not want to get ahead of diplomatic discussions, but pushing russia to take ownership of this to use their influence with the regime behind the scenes and move forward to get something in the security council that would establish accountability. separate from that, is the u.n. envoy. we need a big political push in terms of negotiations. those negotiations have not really progressed since the last geneva conference. it has been a period of protracted stalemate.
2:20 am
the regime has suffered setbacks. russia and iran themselves share one additional concern with us, which is the growth of isil in syria. we are pushing russia on the security council, and outside of it to join with us here and make a serious political push so we can get a kind of peaceful transition. one that brings about an end to the asad-regime. one that has committed unspeakable atrocities, and one that would not leave syria vulnerable to isil coming in and filling the breach. on the no-fly zone, i do not have a lot to add. every day we are looking into the tool backs to ascertain which tool is appropriate to use in each circumstance. on the humanitarian, on the section's, we have done an awful lot.
2:21 am
a no-fly zone if implemented and , executed, would entail using military force against the syrian regime. our judgment is that at this point, the risk of doing so will exceed the potential benefits. not least because of the number of extremists that could conceivably benefit from such a -- royce: the main beneficiary is as they drop the chemical bombs on aleppo, it is the isis fighters that are battling on the outskirts. it is a case in this instance of the regime working in tandem with isis in order to collapse the resistance to isis up in the north. tomorrow this committee will hear from the brave responders that are recently back from their efforts. these are physicians that were out there to save civilians from
2:22 am
these chemical attacks. on the nature of the chemical attacks. thank you for your good work. i need to go to mr.engel. engel: ambassador, as i said in my remarks, let make knowledge -- let me acknowledge the strong work you have done. you listed several instances in your written testimony and they want to acknowledge her personal commitment to pushing back against efforts to delegitimize iran in the u.n.. they are ridiculous, nonsense. from the u.n. human rights council, which is consisted of some of the worst offenders of human rights, make that counsel a joke and undermines the credibility of the u.n. it self. the president recently gave an interview with the israeli channel two news in which he said the u.s. was reevaluating
2:23 am
and i quote him," how we approach defending israel on the international stage around the palestinian issue." i understand that this reevaluation will not affect our security relationship with israel. the president made that clear, but his remarks were troubling as were other remarks he has made on the same subject. reevaluating the ways we defend israel on the international stage could have ominous consequences and it is very obviously concerning for those of us who seek to strengthen the u.s.-israel relationship. if the priority is achieving a permanent two state solution giving israel another reason for unease will not help that goal. i want to ask you what is the status of israel reevaluation and what is it based on? power: the president wasn't very
2:24 am
-- the president was very clear in that interview and has consistently been clear that we are not reevaluating our bond with israel -- our security relationship with israel. the tremendous friendship that exists between the american people and the israeli people. i think what we are engaging in right now is a moment in which it is not exactly clear how progress toward a two state solution is likely to be made. and so, we are in daily touch, as you know, with the arms -- with the israeli government. the israeli security advisor is an washington and as we speak with the national security advisor. with the government now formed we are deepening those discussions again about how we find a path forward towards a two state solution. recognizing as we all do, the
2:25 am
way in which israelis and palestinians can live it durably side-by-side in security and dignity. with regard to the area of concern that you have flagged, the united states, obama administration has consistently opposed the delegitimize nation of israel. we have pushed for the legitimization of israel across the u.n. system and i could give a lot of examples of that. we uniformly oppose one-sided actions designed to punish israel and we will continue to do so. i want to be very clear, in most cases, in many at least, we are actually able to build coalitions and prevent things from coming up to a vote as we did in december. when we cast a no vote, we were able to deny the palestinians,
2:26 am
when a resolution was bought -- forward. it was hastily jammed up on the council -- we were able to forge a blocking coalition. i want to note that there are occasions on which we work with the israeli counterparts up in new york on affirmative u.n. resolutions on things that israel thinks can advance its interests. i think it is hard to speak about hypotheticals and i would caution against doing so. during the crisis last summer, where i know you were very engaged, we came close working with israel on a security council resolution we thought could potentially be additive as the crisis was winding down. in the end, it did not come to pass, but the text and content we are talking about would really matter. suffice it to say, i want to underscore the united states would oppose any resolution we believe is biased or would
2:27 am
undermine israel's security. engel: thank you for that answer. it goes in line with your written testimony," we have consistently opposed one-sided actions and the national bodies would continue to do so." it is a welcome message, but how would you anticipate this pledge manifesting in the u.n. as the french and others pursue a security council resolution that could set artificial timetables for resolutions. power: i have not seen a french resolution. we read in the press they same things you have heard. i will say, since i have got to new york, there have always been texts circulating related to this set of issues. i am not going to speculate on hypotheticals. i'm not saying we are not negotiating u.n. security council's.
2:28 am
engel: what is disturbing about some of the remarks the president has made is that there is the hint that's perhaps next time around on some of these resolutions, rather than a veto, the anti-israel bias to resolutions, we might just abstain. that of course would allow it to pass when some of us here that we cringe because if we cannot count on the united states to stand firmly behind israe; -- israel against these ridiculous one-sided biased resolutions, i think it makes the u.n. almost worthless in terms of trying to be a group moving the process along, rather than beating up on israel with the built in bias at the u.n.. when we hear those remarks from the president, it disturbs many of us who have supported a two state solution, israel's right to exist, the fight against the
2:29 am
delegitimization of israel. >> we went to representative ros-lehtinan. ros-lethinan: thank you for being so kind to my interns before this session. following up on the remarks from ranking member engel. as we know, president obama issued a not so veiled threat to israel that the united states may not be able to support a veto at the french resolution on palestinian statehood of. you used the word oppose. will the united states, yes or no, veto any resolution at the u.n. that forces, opposes, this two state solution on israel. what will our solution be?
2:30 am
you say we oppose, but will we veto? that would send a strong message. power: again, given that we worked last summer on the u.n. security council resolution with israel that we were potentially prepared to support and we weren't able to get everybody on the council to rally around. i think it is perilous to make these statements, but i want to underscore that we have consistently opposed and will oppose anything that is biased or will undermine israel security. i think our track record is solid. ros-letinen: thank you. i think it is the track record that worries. i applaud you for saying you are going to root out the anti-israel bias that exists. sometimes we do not have to look too far to find it. can you provide to this committee later in a written form a breakdown of how much money across the u.s. government we have contributed to the u.n.
2:31 am
since 2011? i would appreciate that, madam e ambassador. regarding the iranian nuclear deal and the sanctions we have on iran, the administration will not only seek to lift sanctions on iran's nuclear program, but also lift sanctions on the ballistic missile program, it's military support for terror, its human rights record. will the administration lump all of these actions as nuclear related? when we try to bring it up, they say they are not nuclear related. it seems to lift sanctions everything is nuclear related. power: on your first question thank you for not asking me to do that math on the spot.
2:32 am
it would have been humiliating. second, on iran, absolutely not. i think that is the answer to your questions. the sanctions that we, the united states, have put in place that are so important on human rights -- given the deplorable human rights record that has not -- for egregious atrocities. it should all remain in place. ros-lehtinen: last week a you -- you held a panel that stated that the u.s. has neglected to report iranian sanctions -- with which the administration has denied. has the administration failed to report a violation on the
2:33 am
security council sanctions. power: absolutely not. i myself am involved in raising the sanctions. even during this last a delicate phase of the negotiations, there is no pulling of the punches even during these negotiations. or ever. ros-lehtinen: i remain concerned about the security situation in haiti. just last week, this committee sent staff to haiti to report back to us on the status of its elections. according to the staff, several people on the security and diplomatic sector expressed concerns that polling u.n. troops out during an election year was a huge mistake and that the haitian national police might not be ready to ensure stability and a security. what is the justification for the troop withdrawal at this critical juncture and why were
2:34 am
those concerns ignored? will you commit to keep the few troops that will remain in haiti after the elections are finished, we hope, in 2016? power: i myself was in haiti in january asking the same questions you just posed. what is important is that the environment now in haiti is different than the environment post-earthquake. we had huge engineering battalions sent for removing rubble. almost all of the rubble has been removed. what we really have seen is yes, a drop-down in terms of the authorized number of troops. that is something the united states has spearheaded. back to the chairman's comment in the beginning. the system is massively stretched across the world. we have to answer in terms of the budgetary demands that the u.n. makes him the american people, as well as on other member states.
2:35 am
mainly, in this instance, recognizing that foreign police units, mobility, fewer engineering battalions, that's basically, you needed a recalibration of the mission according to new circumstances. it is true there has been a significant drawdown, but there are still substantial infantry presence will stop there is still the ability to do rapid response. we have introduced more helicopters to allow troops and police move quickly across the country. a lot of the functions that the u.n. peacekeeping team had been doing are now migrating. that is not a job for the military in many cases. i would note that you are right that the haitian national police have a long way to go. the strides they have made over the last 2-3 years are very extraordinary at the product of u.s. and other member state bilateral support, as well as a
2:36 am
the u.n. training that has gone on there. ros-lehtinen: thank you, so much. haitian-americans have greatly enriched our florida community. we pay such close attention to haiti. thank you so much. >> brad sherman of california ranking member of the subcommittee on asia and the pacific. sherman: ambassador, thank you for your service. not only in government, but before you joined the government. thank you for your work in opposing and exposing genocide. particularly the armenian genocide. i want to go -- to echo the ranking of member on the protection of israel at the united nations. we were all concerned by some indication that the administration would cut back that support. it is good to support israel. it is even better when it is difficult. i want to praise the administration for standing with
2:37 am
israel at the npt consensus review process where, in order to prevent actions in israel, we not only oppose the actions, but we opposed because we had to the entire agreement. hopefully, that answers the question as you have here. when you committed to the ranking member that it is our position to veto one-sided anti-israel resolutions at the u.n.. the president has recognized that involving the u.n. in the details of the peace process is not a way to advance peace. obviously, the u.n. might adopt a resolution that had a few non-controversial provisions. what it we -- would we veto a
2:38 am
resolution that tried to codify the parameters of the peace deal and included controversial elements of that codification? power: thank you congressman sherman. i think that is a reprise of the congresswoman's question with a slight shift. i am going to resist making a blanket declaration on hypothetical resolutions. our position again, has been very clear for some time. i have said again, we would oppose anything that was designed to punish israel that would undermine their security. i think again, it is perilous and there is no resolution in front of us. sherman: i will move on to less hypothetical questions. first, under current u.s. law, the administration is required to cut off palestinian aid if the palestinians pursue or
2:39 am
support charges against israel at the icc and i am confident you will follow the law on that one, spirit and letter. i would not even ask that as a question because i know of your dedication to law. the united states constitution vest specifically power over other national converse, especially sanctions in or particularly sanctions in the united states congress. the administration has recognized that congress is the primary arbiter and has asked us to pass a statute providing limitations and structure. i want to make sure that the administration will follow article one of the constitution when it comes to sanctions on iran. we have got this review process. i would hope that you negotiate a deal so in switzerland, so good that congress universally
2:40 am
supports it, but that may not be the case. imagine a situation in which there is a deal that is cut and the administration supports it but less than one third of either house has indicated support for the deal. there are news reports about you will prevent a lifting of the u.n. sanctions at least for one month to give congress a chance to go through the process of review. will you be allowing a lifting of u.n. sanctions during the statutory review process? power: i thought you were going to another hypothetical, but he went directly to an issue i know is in the news. it is useful and appropriate, needless to say, for congresses voice to be heard. i think the bills that have come
2:41 am
now through both houses provide sherman: and signed by the president. power: and signed by the president, provide a structure for that voice and there is some predictability to it i think, at least in terms of process will indicate in our view, it will defend any deal that is good enough for us and we will come up and seek to do so on the precise sequence it is clear that there are now two bodies whose voices need to be heard. how that will work i think is one of those details the -- sherman: so, you are saying it is possible that if the united states congress declares by over two thirds majority in in both house -- houses that we reject the deal that will establish u.s. policy on that deal. you might still be at the united nations, undermining that policy declared by congress?
2:42 am
power: -- >> if the gentleman will suspend, we will have the ambassador answer the question but we will try to get everyone in with their five minutes. power: that is a hypothetical about what the vote in congress will be. we think this is a deal that we can defend where we can convince congress to support the deal. all i am getting at is the precise choreography of how the sequencing goes through, that is a matter for the negotiations. >> thank you, now we turn to christopher smith of new jersey, chairman of the subcommittee on africa global health human rights and international relations. we will try to do those five minutes so everyone will have time. smith: thank you, madam chair. ed thank you, madam ambassador. thank you for your testimony and for your work. more than a decade ago, madam and bassett are, sex trafficking and sexual exploitation was
2:43 am
exposed in the democratic republic of congo. i chaired a series of meetings. i spent the better part of a week meeting with peacekeepers trying to get a real plan to try to mitigate and eradicate the horrific abuse. like i said, there were a number of meetings where she sat where you sit. she is my third cousin and did a magnificent job trying to get zero-tolerance. unfortunately, some of our witnesses then, and a some would say, still, there is a lack of compliance with that. with the blue helmet bulletin. last year the advisory committee that half of the reports included the abuse of minors. he cited haiti, the congo, liberia, south sudan as the chief offending deployments.
2:44 am
as you know, the office of internal oversight, combated sexual abuse. they found that troops contributing companies -- countries, who retained the primary responsibility to investigate misconduct apparently are not doing a very good job. questions about the quality of the investigative standards. it weakens the commitment to zero-tolerance. get this, the penalty is often simple repatriation and disbarment from any future u.n. peacekeeping deployment -- not prosecution and jail. six recommendations were made. they are considerations on the next but i did basis. for hats can speak to that. there was a real lack of helping the victims that had been abused. second, let me ask you about a
2:45 am
war crimes tribunal in 2013. in the washington post, a series of hearings. we had david crane and he and so many others made it clear that the icc is not up to the task. we need a regional court light -- like yugoslavia and sierra leone. they prosecute both and i rock and syria. the terrible atrocities. your thoughts on that? they recently voted down the application for consulted status known as freedom now. china, russia, cuba, islam among others. i have worked with them for over 15 years.
2:46 am
in burma, a great organization. on the same day, the palestinian refugee center was approved. what are we doing to help freedom now get their accreditation? power: thank you, congressman. i will try to move quickly through these important issues. i will work backwards. freedom now is doing some of the most important work to highlight the plates of prisoners around the world. i personally use their work to reinforce whatever they are campaigning on. members of convert -- congress have also teamed up with them. it is a sad fact that the ngo committee is stacked with a group of countries who do not tolerate ngo's in their own countries. it is very frustrating. who gets elected to this or that stems from the same issue --
2:47 am
regions are not taking sufficient responsibility for the integrity of the are putting forth on the behalf of their continent. this is a classic example. we are not giving up. we are working with freedom now behind the scenes. we have a chance now. the subset or the smaller ngo committee. we have a chance to overturn the boat. it will be challenging. a body of the countries in the lead nations -- half are not democratic. we have been able to score a number of very important victories. we're going to dedicate ourselves to that. we welcome the support and -- of congress. second, working backwards. on syria, i remember your edit very well. i think it is a very important idea that you have put out there. the issue with the icc is, there
2:48 am
is no way to get icc jurisdiction that does not go through either of the syrian governments -- which you not want to hold themselves accountable for the serious atrocities. or through russia, which is implicated in some of the atrocities. the same challenges would apply if we were to try to replicate the yugoslavian tribunal. they came about through the security council. that goes back to the first point i made in my remarks in the outset. a permanent member of the security council can block the creation. the creation of the international tribunal of the kind you are describing. i think it was chairman royce who a -- who raised this issue before. they will be held accountable, but the question is one of? and the last six months, we have
2:49 am
seen perpetrators of the crimes carried out 20 years ago held accountable not only at the icc where they have been held accountable -- but also in serbia proper. >> thank you. i apologize. now, please turn to the congressman from new jersey. the braking member of the subcommittee on the western hemisphere. >> during last year's gaza k -- chris -- crisis. i'm talking about ecuador and brazil. i am wondering what efforts are be making to those countries. to send the ambassadors back. i know we have sent letters to those countries urging them to get -- to be engaged again. are we making any efforts? to urge them to send the
2:50 am
ambassadors back? power: all i can really speak to is what i do every day in new york which is lobbied those very countries not to take the positions they usually take and the human rights council or the general assembly. their level of representation, i do not have an answer for that, but we'll get back to you quickly. sires: that'll bring me back to the human rights commission. i personally feel that they are not effective when you have a cuban leading the human rights commission. the president made his announcement. the abuses have increased. women are beat. people are put in jail. i never hear anything regarding the abuses on the island.
2:51 am
i know one time a killer was in charge of this commission. that is the biggest joke i have ever heard. what can we do to get them to speak up about the abuses on the island? this is a crackdown on the very people that we are trying to help supposedly. power: thank you again. let me just say that on the question of the condition inside cuba, i could not agree more. there have been at it -- i just looked up these numbers on the way over here. 600 arbitrary detentions in the month of may alone. 2300 over the course of this year in 2015. there remains a significant human rights crisis inside cuba and i want to underscore again that the efforts of normalization is aimed at getting at some of these issues. clearly it is not having an
2:52 am
overnight affect and i don't think anyone would expect that it would. the best we are making is access to information over time -- more exposure to americans and american values. this will help them. it will help ensure that cuba over time, liberalize this. at the meantime, we have to speak up. sires: nobody speaks up about it. power: i certainly do. if i could in addition to the follow-up that iou. i will send you the public statements made by u.s. officials. the changes in our relationship with cuba were announced. i don't think we held our tongues at all. i myself also make a point of meeting with dissidents. like the people who may well
2:53 am
have been murdered by the regime. we need to walk and chew gum at the same time. it is important. if i could distinguish that from the human rights issue before -- they are related. the human rights council is horrible to the flaw that you and councilman engel has made clear their views on. it is again a country that does not have a good human rights record. that is true. it is also a body that the united states has used to create issues of inquiry for syria. it has moved the ball very substantially on lgbt writes. it creates a commission for north korea that documented the system -- systematic horror


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on