In 2005, President Bush appointed John Bolton, a persistent critic of the United Nations, as U.S. ambassador to the U.N. In part due to a filibuster by Democrats, Senate supporters had insufficient votes for confirmation. But in August, Bush made a "recess appointment," which allows Bolton to serve on an interim basis, most likely until January 2007.
Since last summer, Bolton has pressed forward on multiple fronts, including the ongoing genocide with an estimated death toll of 200,000 or more in Sudan's western region of Darfur, peace efforts in southern Sudan, Iran's secretive nuclear program, the ongoing conflict in Iraq, and U.N. reform. Tony Carnes, senior writer for Christianity Today, and another journalist talked recently with Ambassador Bolton at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York.
How do you assess the plan for U.N. peacekeepers to take over the African Union's mission to stop genocide in Darfur?
There is a lot of work to do. We're pushing a resolution that will take into account not only the period when there's a U.N. force that replaces the African Union force, but also strengthens the African Union force [until then]. We've run into opposition in the Security Council. But our view is, because of the deteriorating security situation in Darfur, we have to move now. We have to move ahead as rapidly as we can.
Are peace negotiations having any effect?
In Abuja [Nigeria], the negotiations between the Darfur parties and the government in Khartoum [Sudan] have not been without difficulty, because the rebel groups themselves are fragmented and don't have a common position. We're working with the rebel groups to have a common negotiating front, so that Khartoum can't split them apart. The main aspect of our ...