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Diplomats Continue Work on UN Reform Proposal

Secretary-General Kofi Annan has invited world leaders to UN headquarters on September 14th, the 60th anniversary of the United Nations. They’re expected to support a 29-page draft action plan emphasizing UN goals, such as reducing poverty and streamlining UN operations.

Last week, the new US ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, proposed 750 amendments to the draft, which was put together by General Assembly President Jean Ping of Gambia. The proposals come just weeks before the summit observing the anniversary. Some of them delete references to the UN’s Millennium Challenge Goals, including recommendations that industrialized countries donate at least point-seven percent of their income to aid the developing world. Currently, the United States gives about point-two percent of its GNP in foreign assistance, although leaders say that non-governmental and charitable aid reaches well beyond the amount suggested by the United Nations.

Ambassador Bolton also proposed eliminating calls for action against global warming and endorsements of the International Criminal Court. His proposals emphasize greater measures against terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Howard Salter is the director for communications for Citizens for Global Solutions, a non-partisan group based in Washington that lobbies for international cooperation. He told English to Africa reporter William Eagle that prior to the appointment of Ambassador Bolton, the Bush administration had been in agreement on the formation of the document, which he said aims to improve and strengthen the United Nations and address issues that no single nation can handle alone.

Mr. Salter said he hopes Ambassador Bolton will adhere to comments he made at the time of the announcement of his recess appointment. The new ambassador to the UN said the US seeks a stronger and more effective [United Nations] true to the ideals of its founders and agile enough to act in the 21st century to ensure peace and security.