Thursday, June 08, 2006

US fighting with UN again

America's ambassador to the UN has criticised comments made by UN Deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch Brown about US policy towards the UN.

Mr Malloch Brown said Washington did not stand up for the UN against domestic critics and used the organisation as a diplomatic tool. But John Bolton called the remarks a "grave mistake" and demanded Kofi Annan repudiate his deputy's remarks..

The trigger on this occasion is not Iraq, but a looming financial crisis at the UN. The organisation could run out of money at the end of June. The US might withhold its dues unless there is enough progress on management reform.

UN officials say Mr Malloch Brown's speech was intended as a warning signal about the impending crisis. But his charge - that America uses the UN as a diplomatic tool while failing to stand up for it against its domestic critics - drew a stinging response from the American Ambassador, John Bolton, who called his comments a "very, very grave mistake".

After a difficult press briefing in which Kofi Annan's spokesman said the secretary-general supported the thrust of the speech and stood by his deputy, Mr Malloch Brown himself spoke to journalists.

He said the UN was slipping towards a budget crisis and he had been appealing for engagement from Americans.

"Engage here, engage consistently and go out and engage with the American public to say the UN matters, and for the life of me, I can't understand how that can be construed as an anti-American speech," he responded.

So what is this feeble overreaction all about . It is not hard to work out ... Elections to the US congress are due in November, UN officials fear Washington is calculating that bashing the United Nations could secure some Republican votes.

Sad short term stupidity. Anyone would think they dont want to pay off the debt. Oh for the return of semi sensible american politics ....

Source : BBC news


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