Bolton: Terror, WMDs Key Focuses If Confirmed for U.N. Duty
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Apr. 12, 2005 Stemming the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and supporting the global war on terror will be two key priorities if he is confirmed as the U.S. representative to the United Nations, John Bolton said April 11 during the first day of his confirmation hearings.
Bolton told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee he places these priorities on par with two others for the world body: to strengthen and build institutions that promote democracy and freedom and to address humanitarian crises.
Stopping the spread of weapons of mass destruction is critical to ensure that terrorist organizations and the world's most dangerous regimes are unable to threaten the United States or its friends and allies, said Bolton.
As undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, he said he has worked hard to promote effective, multilateral action to curb the flow of dangerous weapons and vowed to continue that focus if appointed to the United Nations.
Another priority at the United Nations, he said, will be to continue pressing forward in the global war on terror. "We all learned on September the 11th, 2001, no one is safe from the devastating effects of terrorists intent on harming innocent people," he told the committee.
"And to win this war requires long-term cooperation with all like-minded nations," Bolton said, noting President Bush's commitment to working with the United Nations to make this shared goal a reality.
"No government should ignore the threat of terror, because to look the other way gives terrorists the chance to regroup, recruit and prepare," he said. "And all nations that fight terror as if the lives of their own people depend on it will earn the favorable judgment of history."
Bolton noted the positive steps the United Nations has taken in the war on terror but said much more remains to be done.
Among initiatives he said he supports is to encourage membership in the U.N. Conventions on Terrorism, to continue negotiations on a nuclear terrorism convention, and to build on Security Council Resolution 1368 that classifies every act of international terrorism as a threat to international peace and security.
U.N. countries must also work together to build their capacities to combat terrorism as outlined in Resolution 1373, he said. This resolution obligates all U.N. member states to use their domestic laws and courts to keep terrorists from sheltering resources or finding safe havens. It also requires nations to cooperate in investigating, prosecuting and preventing terrorism, wherever it occurs.
So far, this resolution is having "impressive results," Bolton reported, with 142 countries have issued orders freezing almost $105 million in assets of suspected terrorists and terrorist organizations.
Bolton said Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice are committed to building a strong, effective United Nations able to meet the challenges ahead.
"Now more than ever, the U.N. must play a critical role as it strives to fulfill the dreams and hopes and aspirations of its original purpose," Bolton said. This, he noted, is "to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom."
Bolton's confirmation hearings were scheduled to continue today.