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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Danforth Sworn In

Aired July 1, 2004 - 14:31   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Live to the White House now. The president of the United States just now about to swear in former Missouri Senator John Danforth. As you know, Danforth is replacing John Negroponte as the U.S. ambassador to the U.N.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We appreciate his continuing service to our country.

For his own new assignment, Jack Danforth is exceptionally well- prepared.

During his years on Capitol Hill, he earned the admiration of colleagues on both sides of the aisle.

Jack is a man of strong convictions, unquestioned integrity and great decency.

He is a man of calm and judicious temperament, who goes about his work with deliberation and a good will that draws others to his cause.

These qualities were evident during his 18 years as Missouri's United States Senator and during his recent assignment in the Sudan.

I'm confident that his good judgment and wisdom will serve America well at the United Nations.

Jack Danforth now heads to New York at a critical time when the United States and the United Nations are facing new tests.

We are called to defend the peace against ruthless terrorist networks and against outlaw regimes that support and shelter them. We are called to preserve the peace by building good relations among the great powers. We are called to extend the peace by replacing poverty and repression and resentment around the world, especially in the broader Middle East.

America is determined to lead all in these great objectives. Yet no nation can achieve them alone. Global challenges must be answered by active, effective, multilateral institutions. So we're working with many nations on the Proliferation Security Initiative, for example, to interdict dangerous weapons and materials in transit.

We're helping to transform the NATO alliance, which is now acting beyond Europe bringing security to Afghanistan and soon providing training assistance for Iraqi security forces. And we're challenging the United Nations to rise to its responsibilities in a changing world. The U.N. must fulfill its mission of peace by holding outlaw states to account, by aiding the rise of stable democracies and by encouraging development and hope as alternatives to stagnation and bitterness.

The U.N. is serving these great purposes in many different places. In Iraq, the U.N. is helping that newly sovereign nation to prepare for free and fair elections and will help to draft a new constitution. From Africa to the Caribbean, the U.N. is helping to turn societies away from old conflicts, to overcome persistent poverty, to fight AIDS and other diseases. America supports all of these efforts. And we know that more will be necessary.

So I'm sending Jack Danforth to the U.N. with a clear mandate: America will work closely with the United Nations to confront terror and to fight the suffering and despair that terrorists exploit.

In all our work at the U.N. Ambassador John C. Danforth will be a strong voice for the humane and decent conscience of America.

One of Jack's many virtue is an eye for talent. Three decades ago in Jefferson City he took a chance on a promising lawyer from Pinpoint, Georgia. Since then Attorney General Danforth has moved on to some other impressive jobs. And so has his young assistant.

Today it is my honor to ask Justice Clarence Thomas to swear in Jack Danforth as the representative of the United States to the United Nations.

(APPLAUSE)

(CROSSTALK)

CLARENCE THOMAS, SUPREME COURT ASSOCIATE JUSTICE: I...

JOHN DANFORTH, NEW U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: I, John C. Danforth...

THOMAS: ... do solemnly swear...

DANFORTH: ... do solemnly swear...

THOMAS: ... that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States...

DANFORTH: ... that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States...

THOMAS: ... against all enemies, foreign and domestic...

DANFORTH: ... against all enemies, foreign and domestic....

THOMAS: ... that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same...

DANFORTH: ... that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same...

THOMAS: ... that I take this obligation freely...

DANFORTH: ... that I take this obligation freely...

THOMAS: ... and without any mental reservation...

DANFORTH: ... and without any mental reservations...

THOMAS: ... for a purpose of evasion...

DANFORTH: ... for a purpose of evasion...

THOMAS: ... that I will well and faithfully...

DANFORTH: ... that I will well and faithfully...

THOMAS: ... discharge the duties of the office of which I'm about to enter...

DANFORTH: ... discharge the duties of the office of which I'm about to enter...

THOMAS: ... so help me God.

DANFORTH: ... so help me God.

THOMAS: Mr. Ambassador.

(APPLAUSE)

DANFORTH: Thank you very much. Thank you.

Thank you, Mr. President, for the confidence you have placed in me by your nomination for this important position. I look forward to working with you and the secretary of state to advance U.S. interests at the United Nations.

Thanks also to my friend, Clarence Thomas, for honoring me by administering the oath.

And thanks to my family and friends for your steady support and for being here today.

Mr. President, nearly three years ago, you appointed me your special envoy for peace in Sudan. That is still a tragic country, and a new crisis has followed the old. Yet, the parties have agreed on a framework for peace, ending a decades-long, north-south civil war, and that is a major achievement.

From the outset, we made clear that the role of the United States in the Sudan peace process would be catalytic. Instead of tabling our own plan, we worked closely with interested African and European countries. However, both sides have said that American participation has been crucial and both sides have told me that your personal engagement, Mr. President, has been decisive in their agreement for a framework for peace.

Throughout our efforts to bring peace to Sudan, my role was to be your spokesman. The parties wanted to know what you thought, and that was what I tried to express.

The same will be the case in my new position. The job of permanent representative is to express to the world the views of the president, and that is what I intend to do.

It will be my job to state what you have made clear: The United Nations is important. Indeed, it is essential to winning the war against terrorism.

The threats of the 21st century are so different from anything we have faced in the past, that it is little wonder nations have had difficulty agreeing on how to respond to new crises.

Not long ago, we feared that the Soviet Union which, while immensely powerful, was at least sane and manageable by military deterrent.

Now, the threat is fanatical groups and rogue states capable of killing thousands at a time and seeing glory in their own martyrdom.

Too often disagreements among nations on how to confront this new threat have been bitter as though the enemy were ourselves, not those who fly planes into buildings or build the power to destroy cities.

But last month, the unanimous adoption of Resolution 1546 by the Security Council demonstrated how nations can come together.

All members agreed on the transfer of sovereignty to a new interim Iraqi government. All members agreed to the central role to be played by the United Nations in Iraq.

Now the task is to build on the momentum begun by Resolution 1546. By seeking consensus and working together, there is much the United Nations can do, certainly in Iraq, but also in combating terrorism and preventing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and to bringing peace to the Middle East and stability to Africa among others.

We face the conflict between civilization and the forces of chaos. The task before the United Nations is for civilization to find ways to pull together to meet the common challenges we face.

It is with this task firmly in mind that I go to the United Nations.

Thank you, Mr. President, for this great honor and this great opportunity.

(APPLAUSE)

PHILLIPS: Former Missouri Senator John Danforth, officially now the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Announced and presented by the president of the United States. "St. Jack" is what the president calls the new U.S. ambassador to the U.N.

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