Annan steps in to salvage UN reform summit

Annan steps in to salvage UN reform summit

UNITED NATIONS – UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on Wednesday stepped in to try to break a deadlock in tough UN reform negotiations ahead of a summit of world leaders in two weeks’ time.

Annan, who cut short an African vacation and returned here on Tuesday, attended a session of a 33-member core group ploughing through a so-called “outcome document” shepherded by the president of the General Assembly, Gabon’s Jean Ping, for the September 14-16 summit of world leaders here. “I had a meeting with President (Ping) who reviewed the state of play for me,” Annan told reporters.”We are making progress, and I’m still optimistic that we’ll have a solid document for the Member States to approve.Their own heads of the state and government expect to come here to do serious business.And we need to have a document for them.””A successful outcome at next month’s summit will be a success for all of us, for all the people that you represent,” the UN chief told delegates of member states.”Failure would be a lost opportunity for all.The stakes are high.Very high,” he added.Next month’s summit was called by Annan to review Millennium Development Goals agreed at a summit here five years and to endorse a sweeping reform of the United Nations 60 years after its creation.The core group was locked in frantic talks to break an impasse over seven key contentious issues to be taken up by the summit next month.The issues are terrorism, development, disarmament and non-proliferation, responsibility to protect peoples threatened with genocide, UN management reform as well as setting up a revamped and more effective Human Rights Council and a peace-building commission.Colombia’s UN Ambassador Maria Holguin said terrorism was the only issue where there appeared to be some movement.Another diplomat who asked not to be named said there was no major breakthrough on this issue but “a good atmosphere”.”The idea is still to have a strong condemnation of some (terrorist) acts but that would not constitute a definition.It’s not a legal definition,” she said.”There is broad agreement that a legal definition would appear in (a proposed) convention (on terrorism).It’s a political message that should be sent and assist in finalising the convention,” the diplomat added.Holguin meanwhile reported a deadlock in the discussions on Responsibility to protect, with Russia, Iran, Pakistan and Egypt voicing opposition.- Nampa-AFP”I had a meeting with President (Ping) who reviewed the state of play for me,” Annan told reporters.”We are making progress, and I’m still optimistic that we’ll have a solid document for the Member States to approve.Their own heads of the state and government expect to come here to do serious business.And we need to have a document for them.””A successful outcome at next month’s summit will be a success for all of us, for all the people that you represent,” the UN chief told delegates of member states.”Failure would be a lost opportunity for all.The stakes are high.Very high,” he added.Next month’s summit was called by Annan to review Millennium Development Goals agreed at a summit here five years and to endorse a sweeping reform of the United Nations 60 years after its creation.The core group was locked in frantic talks to break an impasse over seven key contentious issues to be taken up by the summit next month.The issues are terrorism, development, disarmament and non-proliferation, responsibility to protect peoples threatened with genocide, UN management reform as well as setting up a revamped and more effective Human Rights Council and a peace-building commission.Colombia’s UN Ambassador Maria Holguin said terrorism was the only issue where there appeared to be some movement.Another diplomat who asked not to be named said there was no major breakthrough on this issue but “a good atmosphere”.”The idea is still to have a strong condemnation of some (terrorist) acts but that would not constitute a definition.It’s not a legal definition,” she said.”There is broad agreement that a legal definition would appear in (a proposed) convention (on terrorism).It’s a political message that should be sent and assist in finalising the convention,” the diplomat added.Holguin meanwhile reported a deadlock in the discussions on Responsibility to protect, with Russia, Iran, Pakistan and Egypt voicing opposition.- Nampa-AFP

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