Posted on December 22, 2005
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has joined nine other senators in a letter to United Nations Ambassador John Bolton supporting his plan to oppose the UN’s biennial budget unless it includes a number of significant reforms. “The U.N. is dragging its heels and we want to encourage Ambassador Bolton’s efforts to bring about some much-needed reforms,” said Alexander. The letter to Ambassador Bolton, authored by Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN), states, “Consensus exists on the need for UN reform, and many reform measures have been proposed. Unfortunately, the recent UN World Summit did not produce tangible UN reforms and we fear the current momentum for UN reform will be lost if the UN adopts a 2-year budget which does not include key reform measures. “Therefore, we support your decision to vote against any budgetary matter unless and until significant reforms are also accepted, including a credible Human Rights Council that does not include human rights violators, an independent ethics office, expanded and strengthened financial disclosure requirements, enhanced resources and autonomy for the Office of Independent Oversight Services (OIOS), a review of UN mandates over five years old, fair treatment of Israel, and a plan to redeploy UN personnel to improve efficiency.” The senators cited several recent instances illustrating the need for UN reform including: • The “Oil for Food” program has resulted in an ongoing multi-billion dollar scandal that reaches up to the highest levels of the UN structure; • UN peacekeepers stationed to maintain order and civility have been found guilty of raping the very refugees they were sent to protect, and; • The world’s worst human rights violators still sit on the UN Human Rights Commission and pass judgment on democracies. Senators signing the letter in addition to Alexander and Coleman included Gordon Smith (R-OR), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), George Allen (R-VA), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), James Inhofe (R-OK), Tom Coburn (R-OK), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Johnny Isakson (R-GA).