U.S. Diplomacy at UN Won’t Be Damaged by WikiLeaks, Rice Says
The Obama administration’s ability to conduct effective diplomacy at the United Nations won’t be damaged by the release of embassy cables posted by WikiLeaks.org and provided to the New York Times, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice said.
“I can say with confidence that American diplomats here at the UN and around the world will continue to do excellently the work they do every day in supporting and advancing the interests of the U.S.,” Rice told reporters at the UN today. “I am confident their ability to do so will endure and indeed strengthen.”
Rice was asked to respond to reports, based on the documents, that her mission in New York was instructed to collect data on diplomats and UN officials that might include personal or financial information, such as credit card account numbers. She declined to directly respond to the allegations because she said they stemmed from leaks of classified documents.
“Our diplomats are doing what diplomats do around the world every day, which is to build relationships, negotiate, advance our interests and work to find common solutions to complex problems,” Rice said.
Rice telephoned UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon yesterday to brief him on what the WikiLeaks documents would say about efforts to ascertain the activities of Ban and his top aides, UN spokesman Farhan Haq said. The leaks allege U.S. diplomats were asked to provide information on Ban’s “plans and intentions” regarding Iran and the Middle East.
“We are trying to follow up in our own appropriate manner,” Haq said.
Ban’s press office released a statement saying that the UN “is by its very nature a transparent organization that makes a great deal of information about its activities available to the public and member states.”
The UN said a 1946 treaty on “privileges and immunities” of the world body stated that its offices “shall be immune from search, requisition, confiscation, expropriation and any other form of interference, whether by executive, administrative, judicial or legislative action.”
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