Bolton presides over Security Council for first time | VailDaily.com
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Bolton presides over Security Council for first time

UNITED NATIONS – U.S. Ambassador John Bolton presided over the U.N. Security Council for the first time on Thursday but failed to get the 14 members to show up on time or back his request for daily briefings on U.N. peacekeeping operations and global hotspots.The United States took over the council’s rotating presidency from Tanzania on Wednesday, and Bolton said he banged the gavel at 10 a.m. when members were supposed to begin meeting. “I was the only one in the room though,” he lamented to reporters afterward. “We started just before 10:15 a.m.”President Bush waited until Congress adjourned to give Bolton a recess appointment as ambassador to the United Nations, bypassing the Senate after a standoff with Democrats who argued that the tough-talking conservative was unfit for the job. Since his arrival in August, in the throes of the U.N. oil-for-food scandal, Bolton has been demanding reform of the United Nations, especially its management.Despite failing to get Thursday’s council meeting to start on time, Bolton stressed his determination to improve the working methods of the U.N.’s most powerful body, including more regular, preferably daily briefings by the U.N. Secretariat on peacekeeping operations and other issues that could threaten international peace and security.The Security Council’s agenda depends on major global issues and demands in the 16 peacekeeping operations from Congo, Liberia and Sudan to Lebanon, Cyprus and Haiti.”I think daily briefings constitute a form of intellectual discipline. Starting on time is a form of discipline,” he said.”The council is responsible for peacekeeping activities, and I think we need to do a better job of collective decision-making,” he added.Diplomats said other council ambassadors questioned the need for daily briefings and the ability of the overstretched U.N. peacekeeping department to organize them – and several demanded that any briefings be in all six official U.N. languages. The diplomats spoke on condition of anonymity because Thursday’s meeting was closed.Bolton said the council would meet again on Friday to continue its discussion about working methods.”It’s not a bad idea,” Greece’s U.N. Ambassador Adamantios Vassilakis said of modernizing the council’s operation. “Maybe not on a daily basis, but it’s not a bad idea. We have to do something to improve things.”Japan’s U.N. Ambassador Kenzo Oshima welcomed new ideas for the council.”The question is whether the frequency is right,” he said. “But the idea of having some regular briefing, and some discipline in these matters is what everybody, I think, welcomes.”Vail, Colorado


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