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Archive for Monday, September 5, 2005

Sense of crisis growing over summit

September 5, 2005

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— There is a growing sense of crisis as the United Nations prepares for history's biggest gathering of world leaders next week.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan wants the leaders to take action to tackle poverty, reform the United Nations and address global security. But the 191 member states are deeply divided on what the summit should accomplish, and negotiators have not agreed on a single key issue.

"We are in a crisis situation at the moment," said Pakistan's U.N. ambassador, Munir Akram. "There has to be something for the heads of state and government to adopt, but obviously we're not going to reach a conclusion by doing what we've been doing."

Others, including U.S. Ambassador John Bolton and Dutch Ambassador Dirk Jan van den Berg, said it was too early to talk about a crisis, saying some progress had been made.

But no one played down the gaps to be bridged and the short time to do it before leaders arrive for the Sept. 14-16 summit.

Seven issues are snagging talks: poverty and development, terrorism, collective action to prevent genocide, disarmament and nuclear nonproliferation, a new Human Rights Council to replace the discredited Human Rights Commission, a new Peacebuilding Commission to help countries emerging from conflict; and the overhaul of U.N. management.

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