View Full Version : Annan And Bolton Clash Over Rights Critique

12-09-2005, 09:56 AM
Annan and Bolton clash over rights critique


By Daniel Trotta
Thu Dec 8, 2005 6:05 PM ET

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan defended his high commissioner for human rights on Thursday after U.S. ambassador John Bolton rebuked her for criticizing the U.S. stance on torture, a U.N. spokesman said.

Annan wants to take up the matter with Bolton as soon as possible, the spokesman said, revealing a rare public expression of displeasure with a U.N. ambassador.

High Commissioner Louise Arbour on Wednesday said the U.S.-led war on terror undermined the global ban on torture, a criticism Bolton called "inappropriate and illegitimate".

Arbour avoided directly naming the United States in her statement and press conference commemorating Human Rights Day. But she criticized two practices that applied to the United States: holding prisoners in secret detention centers and rendering suspects to third countries without independent oversight.

"The secretary-general has no disagreement with the statement she made yesterday and he sees no reason to object to any of it," Annan spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters. "The secretary-general, in fact, intends to take this matter up with Ambassador Bolton as soon as possible," Dujarric said.

U.S. officials said Bolton stood by his statement and that the American ambassador would see Annan on Monday for a previously scheduled meeting on U.N. reform. They regretted that Arbour had marked Human Rights Day by focusing on the United States and not countries like Myanmar and Cuba.

Annan and Bolton have recently differed over the U.N. budget. Bolton has insisted management reforms be approved by the General Assembly before the United States would agree to a new two-year budget. Annan, who first proposed the reform measures, says Bolton's suggestion for an interim three- or four-month budget would create a severe cash flow shortage.

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