- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Backing Bolton

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice yesterday urged the Senate to approve the nomination of John R. Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations “as soon as possible.”

Miss Rice defended Mr. Bolton from attacks by Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who object to his strong criticism of the scandal-plagued international organization.

“It would be very useful if we can get this appointment done,” she told reporters. “We need the confirmation. Understanding that there is a deliberative process in the Senate, we do need a permanent representative to the United Nations as soon as possible.”

Miss Rice also dismissed accusations that Mr. Bolton, as an undersecretary of state, bullied his aides.

“Well, it’s certainly not the John Bolton that I know or that a lot of people know. John Bolton has been a very effective manager, diplomat,” she said.

“I expect that John is going to be a strong advocate for the United States and our interests at the United Nations. He will be someone who is very good for this time when, indeed, we do need reform in the United Nations.”

Her support follows a letter from 53 former U.S. ambassadors to committee Chairman Richard G. Lugar, Indiana Republican, urging Mr. Bolton’s confirmation. Last month, 59 former ambassadors sent a letter to Mr. Lugar opposing Mr. Bolton.

The latest letter cited President Bush’s defense of pro-democracy forces struggling against authoritarian governments worldwide and said Mr. Bolton has “proven experience” to carry Mr. Bush’s message to the United Nations.

“We believe that these early stirrings of courageous groups within countries that for too long have held on to rigid authoritarian or … totalitarian rule reflect in large measures the policies and optimistic realism of President George W. Bush,” the letter said.

“No one in the world of diplomacy and geopolitical policy has a better grounding of proven experience than John Bolton.”

The signers and their ambassadorial service included Richard Burt (Germany), William S. Farish (Britain), Ronald S. Lauder (Austria), Thomas Patrick Melady (the Vatican, Uganda and Burundi), Penne Korth Peacock (Mauritius), Frank Ruddy (Equatorial Guinea and later a special U.N. envoy for the dispute in the Western Sahara), Frank Shakespeare (the Vatican and Portugal) and Robert D. Stuart Jr. (Norway).

The committee yesterday delayed until next week a vote on Mr. Bolton’s nomination after Democrats asked for more time to consider the nomination.

Bush picks cousin

President Bush has selected a cousin by marriage to serve as the next ambassador to France.

The White House said this week that he chose Craig Stapleton, who served earlier in the administration as ambassador to the Czech Republic. Mr. Stapleton returned to his home in Connecticut in January 2004 to help raise money for Mr. Bush’s re-election campaign. He is a former real estate agent in New York and a former partner with Mr. Bush in the Texas Rangers baseball team.

Mr. Stapleton’s wife, Debbie, is one of Mr. Bush’s cousins.

Visitor from Panama

President Martin Torrijos of Panama will visit President Bush on April 28, the White House announced this week.

Mr. Bush “looks forward to discussing with President Torrijos the common interest Panama and the United States have in improving security, strengthening democracy and expanding economic opportunity in the hemisphere,” a White House spokesman said.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison @washingtontimes.com.

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