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UN Chief Expects to Work with New US Ambassador for UN Reform

Kofi Annan (file photo)
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan says he looks forward to working with the new U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, the controversial former undersecretary of state for nonproliferation, John Bolton, especially on the issue of UN reform.

Mr. Annan says the United Nations and the United States have to work together, because they need each other. The secretary-general says he expects to work with Mr. Bolton to mend damage to the U.S.-U.N. relationship, and to help push through reform of the global body.

"I think, in the coming months, it is important that we work together to achieve the major reforms that are on the table, whether it is the broad reform, including management, human rights, security council, we need to work together to achieve that," he said. "I think, we also need to strengthen our understanding between the two organizations. I think it has frayed a little recently, and we should be able to get it back on keel."

Mr. Annan says he has worked with John Bolton in the past, particularly on the issue of the Western Sahara in the 1990s, and describes him as very able and very bright.

Mr. Bolton has been a vocal critic of the United Nations, creating controversy about his appointment, which has been stalled for months in the U.S. Senate, leading president Bush to appoint him Monday, after Congress adjourned for the August recess.

The U.N. secretary-general says he expects Mr. Bolton to work with other members in promoting the U.S. agenda.

"I think 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," said Mr. Annan. "So, I think, 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."

Mr. Annan said President Bush's decision to appoint Mr. Bolton during a congressional recess, thereby bypassing Senate confirmation, is the president's prerogative.