Magazine article Newsweek

A Diplomatic Shuffle

Magazine article Newsweek

A Diplomatic Shuffle

Article excerpt

With GREGORY BEALS. JOHN BARRY and MELINDA LIU

To re-energize his team, Clinton turns to an old pro

HE NEVER REALLY LEFT. RICHARD Holbrooke resigned as an assistant secretary of State in 1996, but he remained in the inner circle. As special envoy to Kosovo, he continued his historic work in the Balkans, where he is a driving force for a tougher line against the Serbs. Out of office, Holbrooke found that it was actually easier to get in to see the president for late-night meetings. So when the job of ambassador to the United Nations came open, Clinton naturally turned to Holbrooke. Two weeks ago the president summoned him to the White House and gave him the job. Later, in a private, one-on-one meeting in the Oval Office, Clinton told Secretary of State Madeleine Albright that the Holbrooke deal was done and he wanted her to "make it work." Over the next week Albright and Holbrooke spoke on the phone about how the two of them-both forceful personalities-would coexist. Last week the two met at New York's Waldorf-Astoria, where Holbrooke promised to work "for her and with her." Most nominees lie low, but NEWSW EEK has learned Holbrooke will travel to Kosovo and Serbia next week on a peace mission.

By putting Holbrooke at the United Nations and making Bill Richardson the secretary of Energy. Clinton and Al Gore are trying to energize their second term. For Gore, Highest levels: Holbrooke will go to the United Nations, Richardson to Energy

Holbrooke and Richardson are all-stars on his farm club for 2000. In a Gore administration, Holbrooke might run State. Richardson, a former New Mexico congressman who skillfully helped free American prison-in North Korea and Iraq while he was still on the Hill, may use the Energy job as a springboard to rim for governor-or even Gore's vice president.

Richardson's tenure in New York was not always smooth. …

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