US official faces tough questions

January 10, 2003


WASHINGTON, Jan 9: The State Department said on Wednesday it wanted the US legal system to complete its procedure in the complaint against Pakistan’s ambassador to the United Nations, Munir Akram, although the complainant was not pressing charges against him.

When spokesman Richard Boucher told a briefing that the department had asked Pakistan to waive the diplomatic immunity of its ambassador, a reporter asked him why the US government was insisting on trying the ambassador when the complainant was not interested.

Mr Boucher said the request to seek revocation of diplomatic immunity came from the New York police department, based on legal grounds “on what happens legally in terms of the allegations and possible legal proceedings”.

“Our job is to try to get the other government to waive immunity so that those procedures can take place. So any explanations of the legal aspects of this really need to come from the local authorities,” he said.

So then is it the case that any time a law enforcement official comes to the State Department and asks you to get a government to waive diplomatic immunity, you take that at face value and ask that government to do so, the reporter asked.

“We trust our legal system,” Mr Boucher replied.