05/31/2001

Waiting for Negroponte

A change in the Senate majority may mean more hearings on the appointment of John Negroponte as U.S. Ambassador to the UN. Ranking Democratic Senator Joseph Biden is likely to become chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. Biden's overall record is pro-UN, and he has been instrumental in negotiating a compromise on the US finally paying their UN arrears. Apparently, some Democrats have questioned Negroponte's role during his tenure as Ambassador to Nicaragua, specifically his handling of issues related to the Sandinistas. In brief, further delay is expected before Bush's nominee arrives in New York.

Special Draft on HIV/AIDS

A General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS scheduled for the end of June plans to consider a draft declaration. Some delegates and staff spent Memorial Day weekend trying to hammer out a consensus text: They met with little success. Eventually, two ambassadors took the lead in trying to shape it. But one of them will be returning home within weeks, and the other has urgent commitments elsewhere. Will there be a draft by 24 June? Keep your fingers crossed .

ILO Geneva Assembly

The International Labor Organization will meet in Geneva, as usual, throughout the month of June. Former Chilean UN ambassador Juan Somavia will experience the other side of the delegate's table, as he begins his duties as ILO Director General. He is certain to sail through with consensus support.

Incidentally, the structure of ILO differs from that of the UN General Assembly. The ILO is composed of representatives from three groups: governments, employers, and employees. And our dynamic communicator from Chile has excellent links to all three.