Bush Sends Regrets on U.N. Celebration

By THE NEW YORK TIMES

June 16, 2005

SAN FRANCISCO, June 15 - Organizers of a celebration here to mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations had expressed concern for weeks that the Bush administration would shun the event as a snub to the world body.

On Wednesday, organizers learned that big-name invitees - among them, President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice - would not attend.

In their place, said Nancy L. Peterson, president of the United Nations Association of San Francisco, the administration indicated that it would send Ambassador Sichan Siv, the United States representative to the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

"I am just reading into this that the administration is taking a very dubious stance symbolically toward the importance of the United Nations to the American people," she said.

A State Department spokesman confirmed that Mr. Siv would attend the event, which will be held on June 25 and 26, citing scheduling conflicts for Ms. Rice and for Robert B. Zoellick, the deputy secretary of state.

"Secretary Rice and Deputy Secretary Zoellick have numerous commitments and invitations," the spokesman, Noel Clay, said. "At times, they will conflict, but it is not a slight whatsoever."

On June 26, 1945, delegates from around the world, meeting in San Francisco, signed the founding charter of the United Nations.