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Rice Calls for Significant U.N. Management Reform

Rice Calls for Significant U.N. Management Reform

Development, Democracy, Human Rights, Combating Terrorism also top agenda

By Merle D. Kellerhals, Jr.
Washington File Staff Writer

Washington -- Economic development, democracy and human rights, combating terrorism and U.N. management reform highlight issues on the U.S. agenda as the 60th U.N. General Assembly opens September 14, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says.

At a State Department press briefing September 9, Rice said the central thrust for the U.S. delegation to New York will be working out how to achieve a "United Nations that is strong and reformed."

"We are going to continue to seek consensus on an aggressive reform agenda to make the United Nations more effective. In order to do so, the United Nations must be fully accountable, transparent and efficient with a workforce based on high standards of integrity and competency, and that is the work that we are doing and seeking in the U.N. outcome document," she said.

In the wake of the Iraqi Oil-for-Food scandal and problems with peacekeeping operations around the world, Rice said management and secretariat reforms must be made. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has called for such reforms too, she said.

The inquiry commission created by Annan released a five-volume report September 7 that concluded, "the United Nations organization needs thoroughgoing reform -- and it needs it urgently."

Rice also praised bipartisan efforts by House International Relations Chairman Henry J. Hyde, a Republican, and Representative Tom Lantos, the ranking Democrat on that committee, as well as Senator Norm Coleman, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, for their efforts promoting U.N. reforms.

Another U.S. focus during the U.N. General Assembly session will be on foreign trade and lifting people out of poverty, the secretary said.

Making that possible will require the 191 U.N. member states to be focused on creating an environment that can make development assistance effective, she said, by way of promoting the rule of law, pursuing free market reforms and reducing corruption.

Rice said that she and President Bush will also focus on democracy and human rights issues, including the creation of a new U.N. Human Rights Council that would replace the existing Human Rights Commission. Bush also will celebrate the opening of the U.N. Democracy Fund while he is in New York, she added.

The White House announced September 8 that Bush will host a private reception for world leaders in New York on September 13 to be followed by his opening of the 60th U.N. General Assembly September 14.

"We will also focus on making America and the world safer in fighting terrorism," she said. "The Security Council summit will consider a resolution on the incitement of terror, and we will call for progress on the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism to establish a legal framework to deter and prosecute acts of terrorism."

Rice said she would attend memorial services for September 11 victims on the fourth anniversary of the terrorist attacks before embarking on a schedule of meetings built around the UNGA.

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