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Millennium Summit, world forum on "right track"

On day two of Millennium Summit, world forum on "right track"

7 September -- The United Nations Millennium Summit entered its second day of deliberations on Thursday with over 60 leaders from around the world scheduled to address the forum in plenary meetings, while informal discussions will take place in interactive round tables.

"Never have so many heads of State and government been in the same room at the same time," Secretary-General Kofi Annan said yesterday at a welcome lunch for the dignitaries. "I hope this unprecedented assembly of leaders will also set a new record in leadership. From what I saw and heard this morning, we are on the right track."

Reminded of an African proverb - "even the longest journey begins with just one step" - Mr. Annan told the world leaders they had the ability to transform the lives of the world's 6 billion inhabitants, and said that the Summit represented "the first and decisive step on a new journey we undertake together."

Over the course of the three-day Summit, participants are also taking part in round table discussions designed to allow for more informal and open discussion, with one such forum held yesterday and two meetings scheduled for today. The four events are chaired by the leaders of Algeria, Poland, Singapore and Venezuela, respectively.

Also today, UNICEF, the UN Children's Fund, will organize an interactive forum on girls education for the spouses of the Heads of State and Government participating in the Summit.

Worldwide, the Summit has gathered great interest, as evidenced by the number of "hits" on the UN's web site. While normal days attract between 500,000 and 800,000 visitors to the site, Monday gathered 2.7 million hits and Tuesday 2.2 million, according to the Summit's spokesperson.

Meanwhile, parallel to the Millennium Summit, the UN Security Council will hold a top-level public meeting this afternoon on the role of the Council in peacebuilding, particularly in Africa. Presided over by President Alpha Oumar Konaré of Mali, the discussion will be held at the level of head of State or Government, with representatives from the Council's current membership - Argentina, Bangladesh, Canada, China, France, Jamaica, Malaysia, Mali, Namibia, the Netherlands, the Russian Federation, Tunisia, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States.

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