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U.S. Department of State

Announcement of Nomination of John Bolton as U.S. Ambassador to the UN

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Benjamin Franklin Room
Washington, DC
March 7, 2005

(1:00 p.m. EST)

SECRETARY RICE: Good afternoon. This past September at the United Nations General Assembly, President Bush spoke of our nation's commitments to working in close partnership with the United Nations. The United States is committed to the success of the United Nations and we view the UN as an important component of our diplomacy. The American people respect the idealism that sparked the creation of the United Nations and we share the UN's unshakable support for human dignity.

At this time of great opportunity and great promise, the charge to the international community is clear: we who are on the right side of freedom's divide have an obligation to help those who were unlucky enough to be born on the wrong side of that divide. The hard work of freedom is a task of generations; yet, it is also urgent work that cannot be deferred.

We have watched in awe in Afghanistan, as men and women once suppressed by the Taliban walked miles and stood for hours in the snow just to cast a ballot for their first vote as a free people. We have watched as millions of Iraqi men and women defied terrorists and cast their free votes and began their nation's new history. We have seen determination in the faces of citizens in places like Ukraine and Georgia and the Palestinian territories, as they have stood firm for their freedom.

We are seeing political reforms begin to take place in Qatar and Jordan and Egypt and Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, and this very morning we applaud the courage of those on the frontlines of freedom in Lebanon who are seeking free and fair elections. In this era of expanding freedom, there is room for optimism but much hard work lies ahead. The international community has a challenging agenda before it, from the Middle East to Sudan to Haiti to the Balkans from Iran to the Korean Peninsula and on many other issues.

Now, more than ever, the UN must play a critical role as it strives to fulfill the dreams and hopes and aspirations of its original promise to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, to reaffirm faith and fundamental human rights and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom. President Bush has sent our most skilled and experienced diplomats to represent the United States at the UN. Today, I am honored to continue that tradition by announcing that President Bush intends to nominate John Bolton to be our next Ambassador to the United Nations.

The President and I have asked John to do this work because he knows how to get things done. He is a tough-minded diplomat, he has a strong record of success and he has a proven track record of effective multilateralism. For the past four years John has served as Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs. In that position, John has held primary responsibility for the issue that UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has identified as one of our most crucial challenges to international peace and security: stemming the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

John helped build a coalition of more than 60 countries to help combat the spread of WMD through the President's Proliferation Security Initiative. John played a key diplomatic role in our sensitive negotiations with Libya when that nation made the wise choice to give up its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. And John was the chief negotiator of the Treaty of Moscow, which was signed by Presidents Putin and Bush to reduce nuclear warheads by two-thirds.

In President George H.W. Bush's Administration, John served as Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations and worked on several key diplomatic initiatives with the UN, including work on UN reform and work on the repayment of arrearages and assessments. In 1991, John was the principal architect behind the initiative that finally led the United Nations General Assembly to repeal the notorious resolution that equated Zionism and racism.

And few may remember this, but John worked between 1997 and 2000 as an assistant to former Secretary James Baker in his capacity as the Secretary General's personal envoy to the Western Sahara. John did this work pro bono. If few Americans have direct experience working for the United Nations, I'm confident that fewer still have gained that experience on their own nickel. Through history, some of our best ambassadors have been those with the strongest voices, ambassadors like Jean Kirkpatrick and Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

John Bolton is personally committed to the future success of the United Nations and he will be a strong voice for reform at a time when the United Nations has begun to reform itself to help meet the challenging agenda before the international community. John will also help to build a broader base of support here in the United Nations for the UN -- in the United States for the UN and its mission. As Secretary General Annan has said, "U.S. support the UN is critical to the success of this institution." The United States will continue to do its part.

John, you have my confidence and that of the President. We thank you for the work you have done on behalf of our nation. To John's wife, Gretchen, and daughter Jennifer Sarah and other friends of John who are here with us today, we thank you for all that you do. But John, your most important work is yet to come. And I look forward to working closely with you on behalf of our nation and the international community in support of the United Nations.


UNDER SECRETARY BOLTON: Madame Secretary, you and the President have done me a great honor in nominating me to be the United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations. If confirmed by the Senate, I will continue to work closely with members of Congress and our colleagues both in the Foreign Service and in the civil service to advance President Bush's policies.

As you know, Madame Secretary, I've worked in the government for many years, at the Agency for International Development, the Department of Justice and here at the Department of State. This work has afforded me the opportunity to learn from some of our nation's finest public servants. It has been an honor and a privilege to represent the United States Government in crafting many multinational and bilateral agreements to further our National Security objectives.

Madame Secretary, my record over many years demonstrates clear support for effective multilateral diplomacy. Whether it be the Proliferation Security Initiative, the G-8 global partnership or adopting UN resolutions, working closely with others is essential to ensuring a safer world. We all agree that there are numerous challenges facing the United States and the security of our country and all freedom-loving peoples must be protected. Close cooperation and the time-honored tradition of frank communication is central to achieving our mutually-held objectives. The United Nations affords us the opportunity to move our policies forward together with unity of purpose.

As you know, I have over the years written critically about the UN. Indeed, one highlight of my professional career was the 1991 successful effort to repeal the General Assembly's 1975 resolution equating Zionism with racism, thus removing the greatest stain on the UN's reputation. I have consistently stressed in my writings that American leadership is critical to the success of the UN, an effective UN, one that is true to the original intent of its charter's framers.

This is a time of opportunity for the UN which, likewise, requires American leadership to achieve successful reform. I know you and the President will provide that leadership. If confirmed by the Senate, I will roll up my sleeves to join you in that effort which will require close, bipartisan Congressional support.

Finally a personal note, I'd like to thank two very special people who have been with me for many years, my wife Gretchen and our daughter Jennifer Sarah, who have endured my many foreign trips and long absences in the service of our country.

Madame Secretary, again, I want to thank you and the President for your confidence and for your support.


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Released on March 7, 2005

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