- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Bolton battle

The political battle over the nomination of John R. Bolton to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations is heating up, as the Senate prepares for a confirmation hearing next week.

Three more former U.S. diplomats added their names to a list of 59 retired diplomats who announced their opposition to Mr. Bolton in a letter this week to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard G. Lugar. Meanwhile, a grass-roots campaign is building in support of Mr. Bolton, and the State Department is defending him against criticism over his past remarks on the United Nations.

The latest opponents are James Sasser, a Democratic former senator from Tennessee and ambassador to China under President Clinton; John Hirsch, ambassador to Sierra Leone, also under Mr. Clinton; and Patricia M. Byrne, deputy U.N. ambassador under President Reagan.

A spokesman for Mr. Lugar yesterday said the Indiana Republican believes the letter has so far had little effect because the Senate is on its Easter recess.

“I don’t think there’s been a change in the dimensions of the Bolton nomination since the day he was nominated,” said Andy Fisher.

He added that the nomination will probably win approval in the Republican-led committee at least on a party-line vote. The confirmation hearing is scheduled for April 7.

State Department spokesman Adam Ereli this week strongly defended Mr. Bolton, now undersecretary of state for arms control and international security affairs.

Mr. Ereli, who told reporters that he had not seen the letter, called Mr. Bolton an “outstanding individual.”

“We hope that Congress will give him speedy consideration, and we look forward to his eventually going to New York where he can … work to help reform the organization and help represent America’s interests before the organization.”

A conservative organization, Move America Forward, has opened an Internet campaign to help win confirmation. (The Web site is www.moveamericaforward.org.)

“We need someone who can stand up to the ‘Blame America First’ crowd at the United Nations,” the organization said. “We need an ambassador to the U.N. who won’t be intimidated by the tyrants, despots and dictators who routinely team up to fight American interests at the U.N.”

Howard Kaloogian and Melanie Morgan, the organization’s co-chairmen, sent e-mails to lobby for support for Mr. Bolton.

Mr. Bolton is a “man of honor and accomplishment who will help to clean up the corruption, fraud and anti-Americanism at the United Nations,” they said.

CAFTA on line

The six countries that would benefit from the Central American Free Trade Agreement have opened a Web site to build support for the treaty, which needs U.S. Senate approval.

The site (www.uscaftadr.org) is a join project of the embassies of Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

“The main purpose of this site is to present the public with information about the content of the agreement and its importance as a vital instrument for the region’s economic and social development,” the Nicaraguan Embassy said in announcing the site.

The Web page includes detailed profiles on each of the countries, including economic statistics and trade data.

Free-press advocate

Lorne W. Craner, president of the International Republican Institute, has been named to the board of directors of Internews Network, a nonprofit organization that supports press freedom worldwide.

“The right to a free press and the freedoms of thought and speech that a free press entails are fundamental and universal human rights that ought to be enjoyed by all people,” Mr. Craner said.

Mr. Craner is a former assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor under former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell.

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

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