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Terrorism Statement in U.N. Document Cited by U.S.

Terrorism Statement in U.N. Document Cited by U.S. Diplomats

State's Burns, Silverberg discuss outcome document

By Kathryn McConnell
Washington File Staff Writer

United Nations – The United States and other members of the United Nations have reached agreement on an “outcome document” to be presented to heads of state and government who will meet for the 60th General Assembly September 14-16.

In a September 13 press briefing with reporters in New York, Nicholas Burns, under secretary of state for political affairs, said the document emphasizes “a stronger code of ethics” for the United Nations and that Kofi Annan, U.N. secretary-general, agreed to the reforms it presents.

The document is a statement of principles. It emphasizes the need for management reforms of the international body and the need for more efforts to fight terrorism, Burns said.

“There is no place for terrorism” in the world, Burns said.

National liberation movements no longer can be justified as reasons for terrorism, said Kristen Silverberg, under secretary of state for international operation, at the briefing.

“Management is the centerpiece of the U.S. effort at the U.N. We are very pleased by the language of the document,” Burns said.

Of particular note, there currently is no system within the United Nations to review its bodies that are older than five years old, he said.

Burns said that the reforms agreed to by U.N. members are just the beginning and that the United States hopes the General Assembly will provide “further momentum” for reforms.

One of the high-profile provisions in the document is a call for the abolition of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, and its replacement with a smaller Human Rights Council. Burns said the qualifications for membership on the new council are yet to be determined.

“A smaller council will be more effective and efficient in reacting to serious human rights situations,” John Bolton, the U.S. representative to the United Nations wrote to his colleagues August 30.

The United States also led an effort to create a Peacebuilding Commission within the United Nations to improve rapid and coordinated international responses to conflicts, he said.

Burns said of the seven major reforms that have been debated within the U.N. system, differences still exist on development. The United States believes in some of the Millennium Development Goals agreed to in 2000, but since then, major achievements have been made to reduce poverty and improve peoples’ lives and those achievements should be acknowledged, he said.

Iran also will be a major topic of discussion by the General Assembly, Burns said.

He said the United States supports the European Union position that Iran should return to “peaceful diplomacy” and stop its efforts to develop nuclear technology.

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