Bolton chitchats with Annan on his first full day as U.S. ambassador
UNITED NATIONS – On his first day as U.N. ambassador, John Bolton showed none of his trademark combativeness as he engaged Tuesday in that diplomatic art done so well at the United Nations: forced chitchat in front of a throng of cameras.Bolton brushed by a scrum of reporters and photographers without a word upon entering the building for the first time in his new job, only to find himself standing awkwardly before more cameras for his inaugural meeting with Secretary-General Kofi Annan.His reputation may be for a love for verbal combat, yet Bolton looked mildly flustered as the cameras flashed, apparently unsure what exactly to do with the official letter of appointment he had come to deliver. Annan, his arm in a sling from rotator-cuff surgery, stood with his trademark placidity.”Mr. Secretary-General, it’s good to see you, good to see you. I hope you’re doing well there.””Getting better by the day,” Annan replied.”Well, that’s good, are you doing therapy for it?””I’m going to start next week.””Ah hah.”Silence as the cameras flashed.”It is good to see you,” Annan resumed.”It is good to see you again. It is good to see you. I’m glad to be here. So I should give you this I suppose,” Bolton said, handing Annan a large envelope with the letter.”Thank you very much.””Glad to be here.”Bolton spent the rest of the day meeting fellow members of the U.N. Security Council, as well as getting to know staff at the U.S. Mission.For now, Bolton isn’t speaking to the media, possibly because he wants to wait until the furor over his appointment – and the unique way he got here – fades away.Bolton failed twice to win U.S. Senate confirmation, forcing President Bush to appoint him Monday after Congress adjourned for the summer.Yet while Democrats called him “damaged goods,” his fellow diplomats played down the fact that he was the first U.S. recess appointment in the 60-year history of the United Nations. They said Bush’s backing was far more important, and just hoped Bolton would reach out to them rather than trying to get what he wants alone.”Mr. Bolton has his views on the United Nations,” said Algeria’s U.N. Ambassador Abdallah Baali. “We only hope that when he comes here and works with us, he will realize that – I’m sure he already does – that the United Nations is an irreplaceable forum and we have to work together to make our world safer and more prosperous.”Bolton’s chief task will be U.N. reform, with just six weeks remaining until world leaders gather for a summit here to enact sweeping changes that Annan proposed in March. Diplomats are embroiled in tense negotiations over many of the ideas, including an overhaul of U.N. management and revamping the Security Council.The urgency of U.N. reform was one reason Bush said Bolton had to be appointed now. Democrats who had blocked a vote claimed his tough management style and past criticism of the United Nations made him unfit for the post.Bolton met later Tuesday with Japan’s U.N. Ambassador Kenzo Oshima, president of the Security Council for August. Oshima said he had known Bolton in the early 1990s, when he worked at the Japanese Embassy in Washington and Bolton was assistant secretary of state for international organizations, dealing often with the U.N.”He will bring to the work of the U.N. a lot of expertise, experience and also new impetus,” Oshima said. “How that is going to work out, we will see.”Bolton could get his first chance to cast a vote in the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday, when a U.S.-backed resolution to condemn violence in Iraq may come up for consideration.Vail, Colorado
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