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Bolton: The United States Wants a Stronger United Nations

U.S. has new envoy at United Nations

Posted: August 3, 2005

(White House photo by Paul Morse)
President George W. Bush announces his nomination of John Bolton, left, as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Monday, Aug. 1, 2005.
United Nations -– The new U.S. ambassador to the United Nations will face an agenda packed with critical issues looming for the international community in the coming months.

John R. Bolton, formerly U.S. under secretary of state for arms control and international security, was appointed chief U.S. envoy to the United Nations by President Bush August 1 without prior Senate confirmation in what is known as a "recess appointment." Bolton, who is known for an action-oriented style, succeeds former U.S. Senator John Danforth, who resigned the U.N. post in January. Bolton's appointment will end in January 2007.

"We seek a stronger, more effective organization, true to the ideals of its founders and agile enough to act in the 21st century," Bolton said at the White House ceremony.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said he is looking forward to working with the new ambassador "at a time when we are in the midst of a major reform."

"It is all right for one ambassador to come and push, but an ambassador always has to remember that there are 190 others who will have to be convinced -- or a vast majority of them -- for action to take place," Annan said.

"So if one comes with that spirit, that spirit of give and take, that spirit of listening to others, that spirit of working with them in a collaborative manner to seek something that is mutually acceptable, that ambassador will succeed," the secretary-general said.

The United Nations is preparing for a summit in mid-September to mark its 60th anniversary. U.N. members hope to adopt reforms and an agenda that will provide a blueprint for the world organization in the 21st century.

Over the past month, the United States has articulated its goals. Above all, the United States wants a major emphasis placed on administrative and management reform. It also supports creation of a new human rights council, a peacebuilding commission and a democracy fund.

Further, it wants to see the body place more emphasis on economic development, preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction, and combating terrorism.

"The U.S. needs the U.N., and the U.N. needs the U.S. And we have to work together," Annan said. "In the coming months, it is important that we work together to achieve the major reforms that are on the table."

The U.S.-U.N. relationship also needs to be strengthened, the secretary-general said. "I think it's frayed a little recently, and we should be able to get it back again," he said.

Calling Bolton "very able and very bright," Annan said that he has worked with the ambassador in the past, especially on the Western Sahara territorial dispute with U.N. Special Envoy James Baker, a former U.S. secretary of state. Sovereignty over Western Sahara is contested by Morocco and the Polisario, an independence movement based in Algeria.

Ambassador Ronaldo Sardenberg of Brazil, currently a member of the U.N. Security Council, said that he is looking forward to working with Bolton.

"We do have, here at the United Nations, a tradition to work together among the [permanent representatives] and also tradition of Brazil and the United States working together. It is our hope and expectation that this tradition will be maintained," Sardenberg said.

In his remarks, President Bush said that Bolton will "provide clear American leadership for reform at the United Nations" and will "insist upon results."

"I'm sending Ambassador Bolton to New York with my complete confidence," the president said. "Ambassador Bolton believes passionately in the goals of the United Nations Charter, to advance peace and liberty and human rights. His mission is now to help the U.N. reform itself to renew its founding promises for the 21st century."

Bolton will "make it clear that America values the potential of the United Nations to be a source of hope and dignity and peace," Bush said.

In Washington, Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Richard G. Lugar said that it is important for Bolton to be at U.N. headquarters before the 60th session of the General Assembly begins in September.

"The president has taken an action that is fully within his authority, is in concert with a clear majority of the Senate, and is in the interest of achieving constructive reform of the United Nations," Lugar said in a statement.

Judy Aita
Washington File United Nations Correspondent


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