Khalilzad picked to be U.S. envoy to U.N.

January 09, 2007|By LOS ANGELES TIMES

UNITED NATIONS -- President Bush intends to nominate Zalmay Khalilzad as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, the White House announced yesterday, signaling that Washington plans to work with the United Nations in a high-profile way with a high-flying troubleshooter.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made the official announcement, which had been anticipated since last week.

She said Khalilzad performed "heroically and at great personal risk" as the U.S. ambassador to Iraq for the past 18 months as he tried to help Iraqis build democracy in their country.

Rice also announced that Ryan Crocker, a career diplomat who now is U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, is being nominated to take Khalilzad's place in Baghdad.

Khalilzad's diplomatic style is more polished and pragmatic than his predecessor at the United Nations, John R. Bolton, even though they share the same ideological roots.

His efforts to bring Sunni factions into the government to achieve stability failed, but his ability to forge compromises likely will be more appreciated at the United Nations - especially in Bolton's wake.

"Where Bolton was prickly, Khalilzad will be smooth and balsamic," said Ahmad Fawzi, who was the U.N. spokesman at the Bonn Conference to help form a government for Afghanistan in 2001 and watched Khalilzad at work.

At the U.N., diplomats said they would welcome an envoy like Khalilzad, who has a feel for Afghanistan, Iraq and the Middle East, speaks several languages and has an international perspective.

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