NEW PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF UNITED STATES PRESENTS CREDENTIALS19970218 Biographical Note Bill Richardson, the new Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations, presented his credentials today to Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
Prior to his appointment, Mr. Richardson was a Congressman representing New Mexico's Third Congressional District, from 1982 to 1996. During that time he also served as a special envoy to United States President William Clinton on a number of sensitive diplomatic missions. In 1995 he met with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and negotiated the release of two imprisoned Americans. A year earlier, two United States pilots were freed by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea due to Mr. Richardson's efforts.
On diplomatic missions to the Caribbean, Mr. Richardson met twice in 1996 with Cuba's President Fidel Castro and negotiated the release of three prisoners. In 1994 he met with former Haitian leader General Raoul Cedras, to help lay the groundwork for the peaceful restoration of President Jean- Bertrand Aristide. Also in 1994, the former Congressman met with an opposition leader under house arrest in Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi, who has since been released. Mr. Richardson has also led United States observer teams to elections in Guatemala, Nicaragua and the former East Germany. For his work, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1995 and given Mexico's highest honour to a foreigner, the Aztec Eagle Award.
As a Congressman, Mr. Richardson was the Chief Deputy Whip in the House of Representatives, one of the highest posts in House Democratic Party leadership, and a prolific legislator, with numerous bills and amendments on energy, health, the environment, foreign policy and defence enacted. Mr. Richardson served on the Resources Committee, Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the Commerce Committee and the Helsinki Commission on Human Rights. He was also the ranking Democratic member of the Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Lands. A leading advocate for expanded trade throughout the Americas, including the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Mr. Richardson has also led environmental causes, including work on clean air and water legislation, and supports a constitutional amendment to balance the United States budget.
Born on 15 November 1947 in Pasadena, California, Mr. Richardson holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and French from Tufts University (1970) and a Master's degree in International Affairs from Tufts' Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (1971). He is married.
* *** *