- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 30, 2000

Vice President Al Gore would back expansion of the United Nations' power and peacekeeping operations as president, but Republican candidate George W. Bush said he would "never place U.S. troops under U.N. command."
The two presidential candidates, responding to questions from a pro-U.N. lobbying group, both endorsed the world body's traditional role in weapons inspections, peacekeeping and humanitarian efforts.
But Mr. Bush drew the line at putting American troops under U.N. command.
The two candidates disagreed earlier this month in written responses to questions on the extent of U.N. authority and U.S. responsibility to pay assessments for U.N. operations not sanctioned by both the administration and Congress.
"The U.N. not only can serve broad global interests in peace and prosperity, it also can contribute in varied and cost-effective ways to our security, prosperity, and safety," Mr. Gore told the Washington-based Campaign for United Nations Reform (CUNR).
"Therefore it is very important that America retain its leadership role in the United Nations, including payment of our U.N. dues … in full, on time and without conditions," he said.
The vice president said he supported U.S. military action either unilaterally or through the U.N. against governments responsible for what the questionnaire termed "gross violations of human rights, genocide, or other major crimes against humanity."
"In some instances we have to act on our own or in coalition with our key allies," Mr. Gore said. "In others, the situation warrants acting through the United Nations."
On the subject of funding, Mr. Bush firmly held to the position of congressional leaders in both parties who have battled the Clinton administration's reluctance to use U.S. generosity as a lever to force congressionally legislated reduction of bureaucratic waste, fraud and corruption in U.N. operations.
"When I am president, America will pay its dues but only if the U.N.'s bureaucracy is reformed and our disproportionate share of its costs reduced," Mr. Bush said.
The Texas governor said he also was "committed to pressing reforms at international financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, including greater transparency and accountability at these institutions themselves."
Regarding U.S. involvement in operations approved by the U.N. Security Council and North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Mr. Bush said he believed world bodies "can serve the cause of peace" but not as commanders of U.S. forces.
Mr. Bush did not respond to pointed questions about the refusal of the Republican-led U.S. Senate to ratify several controversial U.N. treaties and conventions that give the world body wide powers over the seas, nuclear weapons, international criminal justice and the global push for women's equality.
Mr. Gore said he unequivocally supported U.S. ratification of the Law of the Sea Treaty, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
The vice president also gave qualified support to U.S. "ratification and financial support of the International Criminal Court if we can correct certain significant flaws in the Rome statute that have been identified by the Clinton-Gore administration."
He said he does not support the Ottawa Treaty to ban production and use of anti-personnel land mines, as written. "It allows the kind of munitions used by Europe and Canada, but bans the specific type of munitions that we require for the protection of our troops in the DMZ in Korea and elsewhere," Mr. Gore said.
"I support efforts to ban anti-personnel mines, but I believe that to sign this treaty in its current form would be irresponsible," he said.
Don Kraus, executive director of Campaign for United Nations Reform, said the lobbying group has not yet decided which presidential candidate to endorse because "we'd like to get more information. Gore was very forthcoming. Bush was not."
However, he termed the candidates' positions "not very surprising. Bush's came out of the Republican platform. Gore repeated administration positions."

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