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Rice Says UN Needs To Reform

Secretary of State Rice (file photo) 16 April 2005 -- U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said yesterday that the United Nations must make serious reforms to survive as a "vital force" in international politics.

Rice said she had deliberately chosen a controversial critic of the UN, John Bolton, to be the next U.S. ambassador to the UN because of the need for the UN to make reforms.

Rice told newspaper editors in Washington that as important as the UN is, there are things that are "not so great" about the institution right now.

Rice was critical of internal UN decisions such as allowing Sudan to sit on the UN human rights commission.

The UN has also been dogged recently by scandals over corruption in the Iraq oil-for-food program and sexual abuse by UN peacekeepers serving in Congo.

Meeting With Putin

Meanwhile, Rice also said yesterday that she will press for democratic reforms in Russia during her meeting next week with President Vladimir Putin.

Rice said the U.S. government was seeking to help "bring Russia West" toward a more democratic and open free market society.

"My message there will be that a democratic and vibrant and prosperous Russia is in everyone's interest," Rice said. "Our relationship with Russia holds enormous potential and we can do even more together as Russia moves along a democratic path."

Rice is due to visit with Putin and other top Russian officials in Moscow on 19 and 20 April.