Leahy critical of UN ambassador

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(Host) Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy says UN Ambassador John Bolton remains a divisive figure who should not be confirmed by the Senate.

(Leahy) “He criticizes a lot but he offers very little that’s constructive. The United States is the most significant country at the UN and it should be doing something more than just criticizing. It should be offering constructive solutions.”

(Host) Senate Democrats blocked Bolton’s confirmation last year, but President Bush named him ambassador in a “recess appointment.” These appointments usually expire after a year. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is holding hearings on the nomination this week.

Leahy says he doesn’t think Bolton has grown into the job over the past year. He pointed to two areas where he says Bolton failed to use diplomatic skills to find a solution.

(Leahy) “Take two key issues: the UN Human Rights Council, and UN reform. He ignored the process, which was a very difficult long process. And at the very end he just trashes it. Well, that doesn’t do much for us. I think with a little leadership from the United States, a lot could have been accomplished.”

(Host) Leahy said at a time when the U.S. is increasingly isolated on the world stage, the country needs an effective UN ambassador.

He said Bolton’s chance of being confirmed has improved with the backing of Ohio Republican Senator John Voinovich who had strongly criticized him earlier.

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