Power opposes Swiss UN nominee accused of anti-US bias

Ziegler previously served on the council's advisory committee from 2008 until last year. In a letter to U.N. members, the Swiss government urged that he be reappointed, calling him a “renowned expert” famous for his “acute independence of thought.”

“Professor Jean Ziegler has been a tireless advocate for the protection and promotion of human rights, in particular in the area of economic, social and cultural rights,” the letter says. “One of his many achievements has been to make the right to food one of the main priorities of UN agencies and bodies which fight poverty and hunger.”

A U.S. cable published by WikiLeaks, however, indicates that the World Food Program — the U.N.'s food aid arm — in 2002 asked then-Secretary General Kofi Annan to remove him from his post as special rapporteur after he publicly questioned the safety of gene crops.

“I would submit that the clearly inflammatory politics played by Mr. Ziegler has had a negative impact on the lives of the hungry,” then-WFP Executive Director James Morris wrote to Annan in 2002. Morris, an American, was former Sen. Dick Lugar's chief of staff when Lugar (R-Ind.) was mayor of Indianapolis.

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