QUESTION: Thank you.
OPERATOR: The next question comes from Jill Dougherty, CNN. Your line is open.
QUESTION: Hi, its Elise actually, its Elise Labott. Were trading out.
I think what is a little unclear is when some senior State Department official spoke to us last week, we were under the impression that you didnt want the resolution you wanted the resolution that kind of formulated a dialogue with Cuba about its future in the organization, but you did not want to rescind. You werent ready to rescind this kind of edict. And what some of the other member countries were saying was, even if you do kind of lift this, you know, official ban, the long-time ban that was from the Soviet era, it wouldn t mean that Cuba would get back into the organization anyway, because it still had to meet the fundamental principles of a democratic charter. So it does seem to be that youve moved on this issue. And Im just wondering what it was that made the United States comfortable signing onto this resolution, because as of last week you didnt seem so comfortable with the idea.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY SHANNON: Elise, this is Tom. And since I think I was that senior official, I think I could respond to this question.
QUESTION: Well, I didnt know if were on the record here so I just didnt want to
MR. AKER: Yes, we are on the record.
QUESTION: Yeah, so I didnt want to hang you out to dry, Tom. (Laughter) But now youve hung yourself.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY SHANNON: But listen, first of all, I think I think I would kind of rephrase, you know, how you described what we talked about the other day. Becaus e I think if you went back and looked at the transcript, I think whats clear is that, number one, we want a forward approach on Cuba, not a backwards approach on Cuba. And because ultimately, you know, what the region made clear to us in our talks that had been ongoing for quite some time is that they wanted to find a way to deal with Cuba that wasnt based on Cold War instruments or decisions that the OAS had taken, but instead was is based on the current instruments related to democracy, to human rights, to self-determination, non-intervention, security, and development.
And what the President made clear in Trinidad and Tobago is that we want a new relationship that is a forward-looking relationship, and one that is based on the future of the Cuban people, the well-being of the Cuban people. So in this regard, I think we accomplished our core goal, which, again, was not to defend a resolution that is 47 years old, but instead to recognize that as we try to construct a new relationship with Cuba, we have to help the rest of the region construct a new relationship.
QUESTION: So but it sounds over the last couple of days that you have softened your approach to this. I mean, would it be fair to say that after consultations with your hemispheric colleagues that you that, you know, it was a compromise that, you know, as long as the organization kind of made clear that it was going to stick to the fundamental principles of the charter, that you were comfortable signing on to this resolution?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY SHANNON: Well, again, you know, multilateral diplomacy is like several-dimensional chess. It requires acting on several different levels, but it requires a lot of cooperation, a lot of dialogue, but it also requires precision as we work through resolutions and language. And obviously, we wanted to make very clear that we were listening to the region, and that the relationship the President had promised in Trinidad and Tob ago, one of collaboration and dialogue, was going to be made real here. And so we were prepared to listen to the concerns expressed and to try to accommodate them in a reasonable way. But ultimately, for us, the bottom line has always been democracy and individual human rights.