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Assembly President Pledges UN Reform Proposals

Assembly President Pledges To Work For Agreement On Annan's UN Reform Proposals

Addressing the conclusion of a three-day General Assembly meeting on Secretary-General Kofi Annan's sweeping reform package, the body's president has pledged all possible efforts to forge agreement among countries so that the proposals can be adopted when world leaders gather at the United Nations in September.

Assembly President Jean Ping of Gabon made his remarks on Friday evening at the close of a debate which saw the participation of representatives from over 80 countries voicing their views about "In Larger Freedom," Mr. Annan's seminal report.

The report, which focuses on development, security and human rights, constitutes a deal for realigning the UN so that it can better meet emerging challenges. If adopted, the proposals -- ranging from a nine-member increase in the Security Council's membership to the establishment of a new Human Rights Council -- would alter the world body more radically than any single reform exercise in its history.

President Ping said that the Secretary-General's report was widely welcomed during the debate, and there was widespread agreement on the need to adapt the UN to the realities of today's world. Delegates, he added, had stressed that through the preparatory process, it would be necessary to stay focused on pracical considerations and allow Member Sates to formulate an agreement on all that was possible in the spirit of reform.

The President acknowledged that a number of participants had felt the report was not adequately balanced, and voiced their opinions on which areas had not been sufficiently covered, while many said they would work to harmoize their views with those of others on the major questions at stake.

"For my part, I will not spare any effort to reach accord on the greatest possible number of proposals that have been presented," he said.

Thematic discussions on the report facilitated by 10 ambassadors will begin on 19 April.

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