Bolton gets to work; says he glad to be at UN
By Evelyn Leopold
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – John Bolton presented his
credentials as the new U.S. ambassador to the United Nations on
Tuesday and immediately called on key envoys, with many curious
to see whether he remained a combative critic of the world
No U.N. ambassador can ignore a chief American
representative but several reminded reporters that give and
take was essential to the diplomatic game, an oblique reference
to Bolton’s reputation as an outspoken sparring partner, who
once called the United Nations irrelevant.
“Mr. Bolton has his views on the United Nations,” Algerian
U.N. Ambassador Abdallah Baali told reporters.
“We only hope that when he comes here and works with us he
will realize — I am sure he already does — that the United
Nations is an irreplaceable forum and that we have to work
together to make our world safer and more prosperous,” he said.
Brazil’s U.N. ambassador, Ronaldo Mota Sardenberg, also a
Security Council member, struck a similar note.
“There is a tradition here to work together. We hope and
expect that this tradition will be maintained,” he said.
Bolton, opposed by Democratic Senators for five months, was
nominated by President Bush in a “recess appointment,” a
loophole that allows him to make such appointments when
Congress is not in session. He can serve until January 2007,
when a new Congress is sworn in.
Hours later on Monday Bolton was in New York to meet staff
at the U.S. mission to the United Nations. One participant
reported that he “said all the right things” to the nervous
staff, aware of allegations that he mistreated subordinates.
And on Tuesday he saw U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and
began paying courtesy calls to Security Council ambassadors at
their offices around New York including Emyr Jones Parry of
Britain, Kenzo Oshima of Japan, this month’s Security Council
president, and Algeria’s Baali.
“Good to see you,” Bolton told Annan, handing him an
envelope with his credentials. “I’m glad to be here.”
Bolton is no stranger to the United Nations, having served
as an assistant secretary of state for international
organizations in 1990 when former President George H.W. Bush
convinced Security Council members to approve a war against
Iraq after its invasion of Kuwait.
One of Bolton’s first tasks is Annan’s ambitious reform
program, which 170 world leaders will endorse in one form or
another at a U.N. summit in mid-September.
U.N. General Assembly members are spending most of August
negotiating a text on security, human rights, development U.N.
management reforms. And they face a contentious bid for
permanent Security Council seats by Japan, Germany, Brazil and
India, which the U.S. opposes.
“Obviously we have been engaged now for some time in this
reform process, which is now coming to its end, hopefully in
the coming weeks,” Baali said. “I am sure his contribution to
this reform will be very positive and we just need to wait and
More explosive may be taking Iran to the Security Council
for possible sanctions following Tehran’s announcement that it
plans to resume enriching uranium. Bolton, as the former State
Department’s undersecretary for arms control, has been pushing
for punishment for Iran but it is not clear how much support
there is in the 15-member council.