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Talks To Produce UN World Summit Document

Annan Says Talks To Produce UN World Summit Document Going To The Wire

New York, Sep 7 2005 4:00PM

With Secretary-General Kofi Annan warning today that talks to produce an outcome document for next week's United Nations World Summit are going down to the wire, Member States are conducting direct, inter-governmental negotiations on all the outstanding issues related to development.

The negotiations, just one week before the opening day of the largest ever gathering of international leaders at UN Headquarters in New York from 14 to 16 September, follow marathon discussions by a General Assembly panel that has so far been unable to produce an agreed draft document on issues ranging from enacting UN reform to promoting development to battling terrorism.

The General Assembly Core Group, set up by Assembly President Jean Ping of Gabon to draft the document, continued its sessions today.

"I hope they don't get watered down to the point where they become meaningless," Mr. Annan said when asked at a <"http://www.un.org/apps/sg/offthecuff.asp?nid=768">press encounter if the discussions among Member States suggested reforms may well get watered down if they get anywhere at all.

"I think serious discussions and negotiations are going on and I'm still hopeful that we will have a document. I think some delegations have been engaged in tactical blocks. We are getting to the wire and I would expect more give and take between the next 24/48 hours for us to be able to have a competent document to place before the Heads of State and Government," he added.

The most recent version of the document, reflecting the current state of play on all issues, was presented yesterday to serve as the basis for further negotiations.

Mr. Ping has set seven Core Group sub-groups to tackle the priority issues: development, UN Secretariat reform, establishment of a Human Rights Council, creation of a Peace Building Commission, disarmament and non-proliferation, terrorism, and the responsibility to protect civilians under threat of genocide, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.

The Summit has been convened to discuss UN reform and the status of the Millennium Development Goals (<"http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/">MDGs) that seek to cure of a host of global socio-economic ills by 2015, and is expected to be attended by some 180 leaders.

Ever since he put forward in March a comprehensive plan for tackling poverty, security threats and human rights abuses while reforming the UN, in his report "In Larger Freedom: towards development, security and human rights for all," Mr. Annan has spoken of the unique opportunity offered by the Summit in this 60th anniversary year of the world body.

He returned to this theme in an interview with the BBC earlier this week, calling for "a maturity and leadership and appreciation of what we are trying to do" in reaching agreement on the outcome document. "I think this is a once in a generation opportunity that we have to do this," he said. "And if we fail, I don't know when the opportunity will come again."

ENDS

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