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The UN began its sixtieth anniversary summit on today.
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The United Nations General Assembly has approved a compromised reform package that will be the basis for discussion at the UN's 60th anniversary summit starting Wednesday.

Some 170 world leaders are expected to attend the conference -- making it one of the largest meetings of its kind in history.

 

The three-day summit prompted New York to launch a massive security operation. "This is a general assembly like no other," New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told BBC.[...]"What we can say now is that we will have a document that will reflect what is politically possible right now among 191 members," Gunter Pleuger, Germany's ambassador to the UN, told The New York Times. "It may not be the great reform idea that (UN Secretary General) Kofi Annan put into the world two years ago and might not meet with the excitement of all member states and of the press, but it will be an important step in the direction of a basic reform of the UN."

 

The draft document addresses topics that include the creation of a new human rights council, ways to increase economic development and reduce poverty and a UN management overhaul.

Agreement Reached as UN Summit Opens
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"The big item missing is non-proliferation and disarmament. This is a real disgrace ... when we are all concerned with weapons of mass destruction and that they may get into the wrong hands," Annan said.

"I will appeal to the leaders that are coming here to really step up to the plate and accept the challenge and show leadership on this issue."[...]
Undersecretary of State Nick Burns cited as victories a proposed code of ethics for U.N. staff, "whisteblower" protection for those that expose wrongdoing and greater financial disclosure for top officials.

"This is not end of the reform effort. This is the must be the beginning of a permanent reform effort to strengthen the U.N.," Burns said. "We wanted to achieve summit outcome to unite the world around reforming the United Nations. We didn't get everything we wanted."

"Multilateral discussions lead to compromises," said incoming General Assembly President Jan Eliasson of Sweden. "We can only go as far as member states want to go."[...]
The document supports strengthening the internal financial audit system, a recommendation of the Independent Inquiry Committee probing the U.N.'s problem-plagued, defunct oil-for-food program in Iraq. But the document does not reflect the committee's call for hiring a chief operating officer reporting to the secretary-general.

One reform idea now on hold is whether to expand the U.N. Security Council from 15 to 25 nations and to increase the permanent members with veto power over U.N. resolutions beyond the current five -- the United States, Britain, Russia, France and China -- as Annan has proposed.[...]
The United States backs only the addition of Japan as a permanent Security Council member.

With all the focus on bureaucratic reform, Eliasson held up a glass of water to remind reporters of the tough problems the world body is called upon to solve.

"This water I can drink right now is a luxury for 1.2 billion people in the world. Three-hundred million people south of Sahara don't have this," Eliasson said.[...]
The United States backs only the addition of Japan as a permanent Security Council member.
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"This water I can drink right now is a luxury for 1.2 billion people in the world. Three-hundred million people south of Sahara don't have this," Eliasson said.[...]
While Annan refused to name any countries, Oxfam's Nicola Reindorp told The Associated Press: "Leaders will arrive to find that Cuba, Pakistan, Egypt, Iran, Syria, the United States and Venezuela have held the summit hostage."

U.N. reform agenda watered down
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`There is very little to celebrate in the latest U.N. Summit outcome document,'' she said. ``We wanted a bold agenda to tackle poverty but instead we have a brochure showcasing past commitments.''

U.N. Kicks Off Summit With Call to Action

Are you pleased with the reforms that have been agreed upon thus far?

What are other reforms than you feel need to be passed?

What hopes do you hold out for there passage?

Will the summit be a success?
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