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tv   U.N. Ambassador Linda Thomas- Greenfield Speaks to Reporters  CSPAN  March 31, 2021 8:38pm-9:00pm EDT

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free on the c-span radio app. announcer c-span is your unsponsored -- uncensored view, created by american television companies in 1979. today, we are brought to you by these television companies who bring c-span to viewers as a public service -- ♪ announcer: u.s. ambassador to the u.n. linda thomas-greenfield spoke after being the chief of the united nations security council, answering questions about issues in myanmar and talking about the sudan. ambassador thomas-greenfield: i am glad to be back to d.c. i think i have had enough. just joking. how are you all? good, me, too. well, thank you, all, for being
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here, and good afternoon. so today is my last day of the united states presidency of the security council. i mentioned to you when i spoke to a month ago that i was hitting the ground sprinting. today, i can take a little bit, just a tiny bit, of a breather. at the beginning of this month, i said america was back at the table. i declared we would reengage with the world, we would restore our alliances and our partnerships, and we would lead by example, and i said with the american principles and the american people will be at the center of our agenda, and just this month, we have shown just how serious we were. in my first 48 hours here, i met with you all, but i also met with all of the members of the security council, all of my counterparts, and over the course of the month, the security council engaged with president biden, secretary of
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state blinken, and we brought vice president harris the commission on the status of women. at every stage, our engagements were guided by our desire to work with our partners and to lead with our values. march is women's history month. we were honored to cohost a meeting on peace and security on international women's day. there, we announced we are proudly joining the u.n. group of friends for the elimination of violence against women. we also pressed to increase the full and meaningful participation of women in peace proxies, aligning our efforts with the goals of the commission on the status of women. in the general assembly, we observed to the international day for the elimination of racial discrimination and the international day of remembrance of the victims of slavery. both were potent reminders of the work we have to do in every society to root out racism. racial equity is a top priority
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for the biden/harris administration, and we will continue to push for racial justice, both at home and at every corner of the globe. our year-end -- to reduce conflict and malnutrition. we discussed conflict driven hunger in places like afghanistan. the democratic republic of congo. the central african republic, south sudan, the tigrayan region of ethiopia. we continued our focus on yemen when we were briefed on the dire humanitarian situation on the ground and highlighted the perspectives of those trying to help such a vulnerable population. this powerful account clearly proved effective. two days later, the security council adopted a press statement on yemen, calling for the end of the de-escalation and
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a press statement was done for the first time on this issue. the statement also called for a nationwide cease-fire and an inclusive settlement of the conflict. turning to the african continent, the security council adopted a resolution that reimbursed -- reinforced the core mission in south sudan and empowered our peacekeeping efforts to be more mobile and responsive to emerging threats. the security council introduced the three-year strategic vision, which provides the clear expression of our expectations and the political objectives that we hope to achieve. sadly, this month, the security council marked the 10th anniversary of the syrian conflict. i was deeply moved by a briefing to the general assembly earlier this week. she is on the front lines and reported firsthand the desperate plight of the syrian people. the syrian people have been waiting and waiting and waiting
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and waiting for the un security council to come to their aid, and we cannot keep them waiting. as i have said throughout the month, the 11th anniversary of this horrific conflict in syria has left so many hungry, desperate, and in need, and it just cannot look like it. we also addressed some of the emerging crises happening around the world, including the situations in ethiopia, in haiti, as well as in burma. with burma, the security council issued a presidential statement that highlighted our staunch unity against the coup and the terrible violence by the military forces that has followed. and with respect to haiti, the security council adopted its first presidential statement since 2017. finally, throughout the month, we made sure to bring civil society, particularly women, to the forefront of every briefing. in the first six months of 2020,
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the security council meetings had 40% fewer civil society prefers that before, and this was not because of covid-19. we know some are trying to silence these necessary voices. so this month, we placed a special emphasis on making sure civil society prefers brought us the ground troops. to keep them safe, we took measures to make sure they were not harassed by their home countries for speaking to the council. their strong remarks informed and moved us. they moved us on issues on issues ranging from climate change to sexual abuse and acute hunger. this march, we confronted our fair share of challenges. in many areas, we have a great deal more to do, from stopping brutal regimes from violently suppressing innocent people to feeding and providing aid to those who suffer from man-made hunger. but we also saw how, when we
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come together, we have the potential to do great good. it is that goal, and it is that promise, that keeps us coming -- coming back to the table, because i believe with all my heart that when we come together, we can create more peace, more security, and more prosperity for us all. we look forward to doing that the next month and in the daves and months and years to come. thank you, and i look forward to taking your questions. >> ambassador, james, al jazeera. you have two statements now from the council on myanmar. the generals have defied those statements and continued with the slaughter. as the credibility of the security council now at stake? ambassador thomas-greenfield: i do not think our credibility is now at stake. i think what has to happen is we have to redouble our efforts.
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there is a meeting later today on burma, where we will be looking at what other things that we might do, but let me just say, what the military is doing in burma to the people of burma, the violence, the attacks, the killing of children, they are appalling. and they are unacceptable. so we cannot just step back and allow this to happen. we have to keep pushing forward. you may know that the u.s. did issue from the u.s. trade representative office, it halted all trade with burma until the military steps back, and we are looking at other measures we might take in addition to the ones we have already taken. >> thank you, ambassador. cbs news. the big picture question is,
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what did you learn during this month in terms of breaking the impasse on many issues that the security council has had, and, specifically, will there be repercussions on the north korea missile launches that violated u.n. treaty? thank you so much, and congratulations for a busy month. ambassador thomas-greenfield: thank you for that question. what i have learned is when we are at the table, and when we are working together, we can accomplish some things, as i am very happy we were able to get a statement out on burma. we were able to have some very intense discussions on ethiopia and how we might move forward in addressing the situation in that country, and i am very, very proud of our discussion on food security, bringing that to the forefront and bringing that out into -- in a public way, i
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think, was extraordinarily important. and i mentioned in my remarks, the fact that we were able to bring civil society voices to the table and have them heard on the international stage was a major accomplishment. i am optimistic that we can do more. i have found in the one-month that i have been here that our friends, as well as those who may not be considered our friends, are happy to have us at the table. they want us at the table. and they have welcomed us with open arms, but i look forward to my engagements with them over the next year -- months and years ahead. >> on north korea? ambassador thomas-greenfield: on north korea, you may know we have another meeting on that this afternoon. we have the 17, 18 sanctions committee. the sanctions committee made the decision that they would ask the group of experts to review the
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situation and come back and report to us. we will be meeting on this issue again in the context of security council. >> ambassador, congratulations on surviving your first presidency of the security council in pretty good form. ambassador thomas-greenfield: thank you. >> a follow-up on myanmar, and then a question. the follow-up on myanmar is that you mentioned when secretary of state blinken was here that the biden administration is considering additional action. what kind of actions are you
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considering? and, secondly, the president has had some pretty harsh words about both russia and china, and you have just talked about the importance of everybody working together. i wonder if you could tell us about your relations with both the russians and the chinese ambassadors this month and whether you think that you can work together and how, particularly on a lot of critical issues before the council. ambassador thomas-greenfield: on myanmar, we are still reviewing that situation as a work in progress. the decision by ustr yesterday was one of those things we were looking at and has come to fruition, and we are hopeful that the situation will
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eventually resolve, and the military will go back to their barracks and allow the democratically elected government to take its place, but if they do not do that, and they continue the attacks they are making on civilian populations, then we have to look at how we might do more in that area, and i cannot define that for you right now, but it is not something that we are going to push aside. and then, in terms of working with my counterparts in the security council, i know that there are areas that -- and this is a discussion that i have had with both my russian and chinese colleagues. we know that there are red lines. there are areas where we have serious concerns, and we have been open, and we have been frank about those concerns.
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in china, what is happening with the leaders, for example. with russia, in syria. and there are many others. we know what the red lines are. we tried to bridge those gaps, but we also tried to find those areas where we have common ground. we have been able to find common ground on burma. with the chinese, we are working on climate change in, i think, a very positive way. we are not in the exact same place, but it is an area where we can have conversations with each other. the top u.s. diplomat in new york, it is my responsibility to find common ground so that we can achieve common goals but not to give either country a pass when they are breaking human rights values or pushing in
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directions that we find unacceptable. >> thank you. thank you, ambassador, and thank you for your busy month. yes, actually, my question was on china. on a personal level, did you find a good relations with the ambassador from china and russia, and do you have the feeling that there are, like -- i mean, the chances of building good relations, at least from what you just mentioned? thank you very much. ambassador thomas-greenfield: yes, as i said, we look for those areas where we have commonality and try to promote those discussions in areas where we have differences, and there are a lot of those. you know what they are. we do not pull any punches.
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you saw that during the meeting in anchorage that the secretary held and in my discussions with the chinese and my public statements. you have seen we called out the russians on syria, and we called out the chinese on the genocide that is happening against the uighurs, so, again, we know that we have to work together, but we also know that we cannot -- i cannot give them a pass, where there are areas that cause us major concerns, and that is particularly in the area of human rights. >> can i ask a question? thank you very much, ambassador. my name is -- it is good to see you for the first time in person. my question on syria, there was some cautious optimism from the envoy about the political track. do you see any concrete evidence of optimism in this political
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process that has failed in the past 10 years? my second question is the renewal with the u.n. mission in iraq that is coming up, and iraq is going through a crisis, including with the central government and the reemergence of isis. do you think there should be more done about the stability, like a few years back? ambassador thomas-greenfield: with syria, any optimism is fine with me, and if they saw some optimism, i am pleased with that. as i have said over and over this month, the situation is bad, and it cannot continue to remain as bad as it has been for the past few years, so i am going to be hopeful that, as i
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have said, that for the 11th anniversary, we will achieve some success, and particularly, right now, we are working on making sure we keep the one humanitarian order that we have open, to keep that open, but you may have heard secretary blinken 's speech, in which he indicated it is not just that one. that one border is not enough. we need to open up the other borders, as well, because the humanitarian needs in syria are so extraordinary. and then, i do not have a lot on the iraq question, other than we want to see nations do more to pursue peace, but, again, that continues to be a work in progress. thank you. thank you, all. [captions copyright national
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cable satellite corp. 2021] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy, visit ncicap.org] [chatter] ♪ >> c-span's washington journal. everyday we take your calls live on the air on the news of the day and we discussed policy issues that impact you. coming up thursday morning, we discussed state election law changes to george's voting law with the director of, because. and honest elections project's executive director speaks. also, from the new york times, we talk about the affordable care act. watch c-span's washington journal live at 7:00 eastern thursday morning and be sure to join the discussion with your phone calls, textbook messages,
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and tweets. >> it is overlook our live coverage thursday. on c-span, a discussion on the pandemic and medical supply chain from the washington international trade association. that is followed by a house administration subcommittee hearing at noon on access to voting in u.s. elections. at 3:30, the urban institute that have the pandemic affects immigrant families. on c-span2, white house chief of staff ron klain speaks about the biden administration agenda. at 9:00 a.m. eastern. at 10:00 15, the trial continues of minneapolis police officer derek chauvin, who is charged in the death of george floyd. ♪ >> c-span is your unfiltered coverage created by america's cable television companies in 1979. today we are brought to you by these companies, who provide
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c-span to viewers as a public service. >> the supreme court heard oral argument today in ncaa versus alston, a consolidated case challenging whether the collegiate sports association's limit on providing compensation and benefits violates federal antitrust law. under existing rules, colleges and universities can cover's a student athlete expenses related to their education including tuition, fees, and room and board. they will also allow payments for certain things such as academic awards and study abroad. . the justices have through june, 2021, to issue a ruling. >> the honorable chief justice the associate justices of the supreme court of the united states. oyez, oyez,

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