UNITED NATIONS – The United States has decided not to seek a seat on the new U.N. Human Rights Council for now, preferring instead to see how the new body takes shape, a U.S. official said Thursday.
The United States was virtually alone in voting against the council when the U.N. General Assembly approved the its creation last month. U.S. officials claimed not enough was done to prevent abusive countries from becoming members.
"We're going to take a wait and see attitude," the U.S. official said, speaking from Washington on condition of anonymity because the announcement was not expected to be made public until later in the day.
So far, 21 countries have declared their candidacy to be members of the new council. It replaces the highly politicized and often criticized Human Rights Commission.
The official said the decision not to join the council was made on Wednesday evening when U.S. Ambassador John Bolton visited Washington.
Bolton said earlier that the United States will work with other member states "to make the council as strong and effective as it can be."
Officials at the U.S. mission to the United Nations in New York refused to comment on the official's remarks.