30 nations to take lead in negotiating document for world leaders to adopt at U.N. summit | VailDaily.com

30 nations to take lead in negotiating document for world leaders to adopt at U.N. summit

UNITED NATIONS – U.N. member states have agreed to let about 30 nations take the lead in trying to resolve major differences over an action plan world leaders can adopt at next month’s summit.The United States has submitted hundreds of proposed amendments to the 39-page draft currently on the table, and Russia, the Nonaligned Movement representing 116 mainly developing countries, and dozens of other countries have submitted hundreds more.General Assembly President Jean Ping said the “core group” representing all regions and groups at the United Nations would start negotiations Monday and was prepared to work nights if need be to finalize a document by Sept. 2.The text would then be submitted to the 191 member states on Sept. 6 for approval, and sent for translation into the U.N.’s six official languages, he said. The summit is Sept. 14-16.”We have to work hard, and we’ll do everything in order to produce an outcome,” Ping told reporters after a closed-door meeting of representatives from all countries.The negotiators will be focusing on seven key issues where there are still serious differences:- Defining and tackling terrorism;- Disarmament and nonproliferation;- A new Human Rights Council to replace the discredited Human Rights Commission;- A new Peacebuilding Commission to help countries emerging from conflict;- Overhauling U.N. management;- Taking collective action to protect people against genocide;- Actions to fight poverty and promote development.But other issues can also be raised, and even though about 30 countries will be leading the negotiations, any other U.N. member state can step in with proposals during the negotiations, Ping said.He said the key negotiators would include the five permanent Security Council members – the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France – as well as Malaysia, which heads the Nonaligned Movement, Japan, India, Pakistan and representatives from every region.”I think we’re making progress,” U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said. “We’re prepared to be flexible on format and process. We want a strong outcome document.”He called the U.S. agreement with the Nonaligned Movement – that all governments should be able to contribute and that the entire text should be open – “a good sign.””We’re very pleased about this,” Bolton said. “We’re moving ahead.”While Bolton raised the possibility of the summit adopting just a short declaration, Ping said negotiators will be working on the 39-page draft – and may decide in addition to issue a two- or three-page declaration.Pakistan’s U.N. Ambassador Munir Akram said it will be difficult to bridge the differences with less than three weeks left.”This is important for our leaders – to have an outcome, to have something that they can adopt when they are coming together on the 60th anniversary (of the United Nations),” Akram said. “It will be a bad reflection on the United Nations, and all our leaders, if we are not able to agree.”Britain’s U.N. Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry, whose county holds the European Union presidency, said the challenge now is to turn the draft into a comprehensive agreement.”Our heads of government want something that tackles tomorrow’s problems,” Jones Parry said.For the Nonaligned Movement, the top priority is development – and action to meet U.N. goals that include cutting extreme poverty by half, ensuring universal primary education, and stemming the AIDS pandemic, all by 2015.Bolton said in a letter to U.N. member states Friday that the proposed U.S. amendments eliminated all references to a goal calling on donor countries to spend 0.7 percent of GNP on development aid.He said in the letter obtained by The Associated Press that the target was added in a U.N. report in 2001 on implementing goals adopted at the U.N. Millennium Summit in 2000 and was never “formally adopted” by member states.On Thursday, a U.N. report said the U.S. spent 0.16 percent of GNP on international assistance in 2004. By contrast, all EU countries have committed to reach the 0.7 percent target by 2015.Vail – Colorado

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