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Bush Taps Hard-Liner For UN Post

Undersecretary of State John R. Bolton, an outspoken arms control expert who rarely muffles his views in diplomatic nuance, is President Bush's choice to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made the announcement Monday with Bolton at her side.

"The president and I have asked John to do this work because he knows how to get things done," Rice said at a State Department news conference. "He is a tough-minded diplomat, he has a strong record of success, and he has a proven track record of effective multilateralism."

Bolton promised to work closely with members of Congress to advance Mr. Bush's policies and said his record demonstrates "clear support for effective multilateral diplomacy."

"The United Nations affords us the opportunity to move our policies forward," said Bolton, who acknowledged that in the past he has written critically about the world body.

Presidential spokesman Scott McClellan, while not mentioning Bolton by name, told reporters: "The person he (President Bush) has selected to nominate to the position of ambassador to the United Nations is someone who shares the president's strong commitment to making sure multilateral organizations are effective."

"This president believes it is important that the United Nations focuses on achieving results to make the world a safer place and a better place," McClellan said.

Mr. Bush, already viewed suspiciously in some sectors of the United Nations for his pre-emptive attack in 2003 on Iraq, reached out to a tough lawyer whose strong statements have irked leaders in North Korea and China.

Last month, for instance, in a strongly worded speech in Tokyo, Bolton lashed out at China before an international audience for not stopping its munitions companies from selling missile technology to Iran and other nations the United States considers rogue states.

He also took the lead in strongly opposing plans of European allies to lift an 15-year embargo and sell weapons to Beijing.

In his current post as undersecretary for arms control and international security, Bolton, 56, has traveled the world several times over in the past four years, mostly to try to halt the spread of dangerous technology.

Before the 1991 Persian Gulf war, as an assistant secretary of state for international organizations, Bolton collaborated with then-Secretary of State James A. Baker III in organizing an alliance with European and Arab countries for the war with Iraq that liberated Kuwait.

Bolton, who has served as Washington's top arms control official, would succeed former Sen. John Danforth, who retired in January.

Rice informed the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., and the senior Democrat, Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, of the selection. She also notified U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, said a government official knowledgeable about the situation.

Bolton must be confirmed for the post, which is being filled temporarily by Anne Patterson, a career foreign service officer, who took over for Danforth.

In a measure of the partisan hackles Bolton has raised in the past, the Senate confirmed him to his current post by 57-43, with all the votes in opposition coming from Democrats. The vote was on May 8, 2001.

North Korea was so incensed by his public denunciations of their nuclear weapons program that it refused to negotiate with him and he was removed from the U.S. delegation to the now-dormant talks.

An attorney, Bolton has been under secretary of state for arms control and international security since May 11, 2001 and earlier held a variety of high-level government jobs at the departments of Justice and State under Republican administrations.

Bolton has been a sharp critic of autocratic regimes, such as the one in Pyongyang, and of many proposed international agreements.

Danforth, a former U.S. senator from Missouri, served on the job for just six months. He left on Jan. 20, at the end of Mr. Bush's first term, saying he wanted to return to his home in St. Louis and spend time with his ailing wife.

Bolton was born in Baltimore and graduated from Yale University and Yale Law School.

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