Vatican Ally Favored for U.S. Post

John Klink Nominated for Refugee Bureau

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WASHINGTON, D.C., MAY 24, 2001 (Zenit.org).- The White House has overruled U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell on his choice to run a refugee bureau and has insisted on a nominee who represents the Vatican´s diplomatic mission at the United Nations, the New York Times reported.



The White House decided that the nominee would be John M. Klink, who holds dual Irish and American citizenship and represents the Vatican at U.N. conferences on social issues, senior administration officials said.

If confirmed by Congress, Klink would head the State Department´s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration Bureau.

Klink, 51, represented the Vatican on the executive board of UNICEF from 1988 to 1999 and worked for Catholic Relief Services from 1976 to 1986, the Times said. His résumé lists his current job as adviser to the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations. It also says he is a member of the Republican National Committee´s Catholic Task Force.

His selection is seen as a setback for General Powell who, unlike Klink, supports abortion. More broadly, the nomination of Klink comes at a time when the White House is courting Catholic voters.

Klink´s nomination marks the second time the White House has taken an anti-abortion stance in the area of foreign policy and international population efforts. Shortly after his inauguration, Bush issued an executive order banning American aid to international organizations that use their own money to provide or promote abortions.

General Powell, after considering a number of candidates to head the population, refugee and migration bureau, had decided on Alan Kreczko, a career civil servant, who is the acting assistant secretary at the bureau, administration officials said, according to the Times.

Klink would oversee an annual budget of more than $800 million that is chiefly distributed to international agencies like the office of the United Nations high commissioner for refugees and the International Committee of the Red Cross.