Tim Reid and Richard Beeston / The Times – 2005-04-27 09:22:31
BONUS: For a candid look at John Bolton in action, watch the 4-minute video-clip, “John Bolton in His Own Words,” at:
LONDON (April 26, 2005) — Jack Straw became embroiled yesterday in the controversy surrounding John Bolton, President Bush’s choice to become the next US Ambassador to the UN, after it emerged that the Foreign Secretary had complained to Washington about his behaviour.
As a series of new allegations against Mr Bolton put his chances of confirmation further into doubt, details emerged of how a furious Mr Straw told Colin Powell, the former US Secretary of State, that Mr Bolton was trying to destroy a European initiative on Iran’s nuclear programme.
Mr Straw made the complaint after he became convinced that Mr Bolton was the source of an article on the front page of The Times last July quoting an unnamed senior US official who dismissed the initiative as “spring training” and advocated “regime change” in Tehran. The Times has never revealed its source.
A Foreign Office spokesman said last night that Mr Straw had “no recollection” of clashing with Mr Bolton. Privately, however, a senior British official recalled that Mr Straw had been very angry with Mr Bolton, whom he described as “extremely disobliging”.
Britan Had Bolton Removed from Libya Negotiations
In a separate allegation, Newsweek reported yesterday that British officials “at the highest levels” had persuaded the White House to keep Mr Bolton off the team negotiating with Libya to give up its nuclear programme in 2003. The magazine said that Mr Bolton was unwilling to support a compromise that the US drop its demand for regime change in Libya if the country abandoned its weapons programme. The White House denied the claim.
Mr Straw’s complaint is the latest setback for Mr Bolton, whose confirmation is now thought to be in serious doubt. Last week the Foreign Relations Committee, which had been expected to oversee a straightforward confirmation, had to postpone a vote after three Republicans failed to support Mr Bolton. They had been alarmed by allegations about his volatile temper, his treatment of subordinates and claims that he pressured intelligence officials to issue reports that fitted his hardline views.
Mr Bolton, who was in charge of arms control during Mr Bush’s first term, is also accused of misleading the committee when under oath.
Four of the ten Republicans on the committee have now voiced doubts about Mr Bolton. If all eight Democrats vote against him on May 12, as expected, just one Republican vote opposing him would be enough to block the nomination.
Mr Bush shows no sign of withdrawing the nomination, however. The White House hopes that Republican waverers can be talked round.
Times Newspapers Ltd.
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