French report: Former U.N. envoy Bolton says U.S. has 'no strategic interest' in united Iraq
International Herald Tribune | January 29, 2007
PARIS: Former U.S. envoy to the United Nations John Bolton said in an interview published in France that the United States has "no strategic interest" in a united Iraq.
Bolton, who resigned last month from his temporary appointment as U.N. ambassador, also told the French daily Le Monde that U.S. President George W. Bush's administration acted too slowly to hand power over to Iraqis after toppling Saddam Hussein in 2003.
"We did a disservice to Iraqis by depriving them of political leaders," Bolton was quoted as saying, adding that the Coalition Provisional Authority that initially ran Iraq allowed terrorists to regroup. Bolton was speaking in English, and the interview was published in French. An English-language copy of the interview was not available.
Bolton suggested in the interview that the United States shouldn't necessarily keep Iraq from splitting up. The Bush administration and the Iraqi government have said they don't want Iraq divided.
"The United States has no strategic interest in the fact that there's one Iraq, or three Iraqs," he was quoted as saying. "We have a strategic interest in the fact of ensuring that what emerges is not a state in complete collapse, which could become a refuge for terrorists or a terrorist state."
The comments marked the second time in less than a week that Bolton had criticized the Bush administration's policy. On Fox News last week, he said the United States may not be able to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons because it was following a flawed diplomatic strategy.
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