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Clinton still wants Holbrooke for U.N. post

Richard Holbrooke  

Sources: Financial issues raised in background check

September 11, 1998
Web posted at: 11:09 a.m. EDT (1509 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Despite reports to the contrary, President Clinton indicated Friday he is sticking with his nomination of Richard Holbrooke as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

"Ambassador Holbrooke has made remarkable contributions to our nation's security in this administration and in previous administrations," Clinton said in a written statement.

It was unclear, however, whether the nomination could be confirmed this year.

Clinton said he would ask the Senate to confirm Holbrooke upon completion of a review of the veteran diplomat and investment banker's financial disclosure records. Earlier in the day, administration sources told CNN the nomination was on hold because of questions raised during an intensive background investigation.

The sources said questions about Holbrooke's finances had put the nomination in serious trouble; one used the term "peril." They declined to be more specific.

Clinton's statement appeared to contradict another report that said Holbrooke's nomination was being withdrawn. Holbrooke was not immediately available for comment.

The statement did not comment directly on possible problems with the nomination. Instead, he said Holbrooke is cooperating with the background check.

The State Department and Justice Department are reviewing Holbrooke's financial disclosure reports and contacts with State Department officials during the year following his departure from government service in February 1996, Clinton said.

The administration had been due to submit nomination documents to the Senate by Thursday after announcing the nomination June 18.

In August, Sen. Jesse Helms, R-North Carolina, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee which must confirm Holbrooke, said that if the administration wanted its nominee confirmed this year, the documents must be received by September 10.

Holbrooke, a former assistant secretary of state, is best known as the architect of the Balkan peace agreement hammered out in Dayton, Ohio in 1995.

He was to replace Bill Richardson, the former U.S. ambassador at the United Nations, who is now the administration's energy secretary.

Correspondent John King contributed to this report.

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