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New US Ambassador to UN Sworn In - 2004-07-01


President Bush has named a new ambassador to the United Nations. Mr. Bush took part in the swearing-in of former U.S. Senator John Danforth.

President Bush says Ambassador Danforth goes to New York at a critical time, when the United States and the United Nations are facing new tests.

"We are called to defend the peace against ruthless terrorist networks and against outlaw regimes that support and shelter them, he said. "We are called to preserve the peace by building good relations among the great powers. We are called to extend the peace by replacing poverty and repression and resentment around the world, especially in the broader Middle East."

President Bush says those global challenges require multilateral cooperation, something his political opponents say Mr. Bush failed to get in the run-up to the war in Iraq.

President Bush ordered that invasion last year without the approval of the U.N. Security Council but has since returned to the United Nations where he won a unanimous resolution backing Iraq's new transitional government.

"In Iraq, the U.N. is helping that newly sovereign nation to prepare for free and fair elections and will help to draft a new constitution," he said. "From Africa to the Caribbean, the U.N. is helping to turn societies away from old conflicts, to overcome persistent poverty, and to fight AIDS and other diseases."

President Bush says he is sending Ambassador Danforth to New York with a clear mandate: to work closely with other nations to confront terror and to fight the suffering and despair that he says terrorists exploit.

Prior to his appointment, Ambassador Danforth was the president's special representative to the conflict in Sudan.

The former senator from the Midwest state of Missouri says a framework for peace between the government in Khartoum and southern rebels is a major achievement. But he says Sudan is still a tragic country with a new humanitarian crisis in the western region of Darfur, where raids by militiamen have driven thousands of villagers across the border into Chad.

As U.N. Ambassador, Mr. Danforth says the task is to build on the momentum of the unanimous resolution backing Iraq's transitional government and overcome what he says are often bitter disagreements over how best to confront terrorist threats.

"By seeking consensus and working together, there is much the United Nations can do, certainly in Iraq, but also in combating terrorism, in preventing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, in bringing peace to the Middle East and stability to Africa among others," he said.

Ambassador Danforth succeeds John Negroponte who is Washington's new ambassador to Iraq.

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