UN Summit Supports Millenium Goals, Condemns Terrorism

NEW YORK, New York, September 15, 2005 (ENS) - As world leaders gathered Wednesday for the United Nations' 60th anniversary General Assembly and World Summit, the 15 member UN Security Council unanimously adopted two resolutions at a historic summit meeting of its own - one on inciting terrorist acts, the other on the Security Council's role in conflict prevention, particularly in Africa.

At the Security Council table, President George W. Bush was joined by the presidents of Tanzania, Russia, Greece, Argentina, China, Algeria, Benin, Romania, Brazil and the Philippines; the prime ministers of the United Kingdom, France and Denmark; and the foreign minister of Japan.

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President George W. Bush speaks during the Security Council Summit at the United Nations in New York. Behind the President is U.S. Representative to the UN, John Bolton, and and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. (Photo by Eric Draper courtesy The White House)
The Security Council is the only UN body whose actions are binding on all 191 member states. Its meeting was only the third Security Council summit in 60 years.

The terrorism resolution, drafted by the United Kingdom, condemns in the strongest terms "all acts of terrorism irrespective of their motivation, whenever and by whomsoever committed" and "the incitement of terrorist acts." It repudiates attempts to justify or glorify terrorist acts in order to incite further violent attacks.

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair urged world leaders at the United Nations not to underestimate the threat from terrorism. Terrorists would not be defeated until "our passion for the democratic way is as great as their passion for tyranny," he told the 2005 World Summit.

"Terrorism and armed conflict are not only threats to our security," President Bush told the Security Council meeting, "they're the enemies of development and freedom for millions."

The United States co-sponsored the resolution on conflict prevention with Algeria, Benin and Tanzania and supports the effort to improve the ability of the African Union and other regional organizations to deploy civilian and military assets to prevent conflicts, Bush said.

As part of a broader initiative by the Group of Eight (G8) nations, Bush said, over the next five years the United States will provide training for more than 40,000 African peacekeepers to preserve justice and order. The G8 nations are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States.

The resolution on conflict prevention expresses the UN's determination "to monitor closely situations of potential armed conflict" and strengthen the United Nations' capacities to play a role in mediation, strengthen civil society, promote fairness and transparency in electoral processes, and take action against illegal exploitation and trafficking of natural resources and high value commodities.

In a 60th anniversary toast to the United Nations Wednesday, President Bush thanked UN member states for their "goodwill and outpouring of support" after Hurricane Katrina, which "reminds us there is no challenge we cannot overcome when the nations of the world unite in common."

Bush expressed support for "a strong United Nations" and for Secretary General Kofi Annan's commitment and that of the General Assembly and member states to reform the UN. "We have made a solid start," Bush said, "more work remains."

Today, as the World Summit entered its second day, UN reform and development goals top the agenda. The eight Millennium Development Goals, agreed in 2000 by all UN member states would establish environmental sustainablility, provide clean water and sanitation, and eliminate extreme poverty and hunger, among other goals, by a target date of 2015.

Opening the morning session President Ismail Omar Guellen of Djibouti praised "the catalytic leadership and tenacity" of Secretary-General Kofi Annan in pushing for reform to ensure the UN remain relevant for coming generations and noted the role of the Millennium Development Goals as a global partnership to reduce poverty, improve health, promote peace and human rights, gender equality and environmental sustainability.

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Russian President Vladmir Putin (left) and British Prime Minister Tony Blair at the World Summit (Photo courtesy No. 10 Downing St.)
Russian President Vladimir Putin said there was "a need to adjust this Organization to the new historic realities" and said his country "intends to increase its participation both in international crisis response action and in promotion of development and progress." He said terrorism posed the main threat to human rights, freedoms and sustainable development and the UN and its Security Council must be the main centet for coordinating international cooperation.

President Levy Mwanawasa of Zambia called for "collaborative efforts between the developed and developing countries to accelerate global efforts" to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and applauded recent efforts to provide more resources for development, including debt relief.

Ecuadorian President Alfredo Palacio said the Millennium Development Goals are "a minimal, not a maximal agenda, a starting point, not the end. This basic commitment must be assumed by all the governments of the world."

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani joined his voice to the call for reform in a way that strengthens the UN’s role in keeping international security, and also achieves international cooperation in the economic, cultural and social fields. “Iraq is facing one of the most brutal campaigns of terror at the hands of the forces of darkness, he said, adding that the country’s war on terror requires diverse international help.

Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo addresses the General Assembly Wednesday on the subject of financing for development on behalf of the African Union. (Photo courtesy UN)
Leader after leader expressed support for the United Nations and for the Millennium Development Goals.

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva urged "immediate and courageous steps" to expand the resources available to fight poverty and hunger. "If developed countries attain the required strategic vision, they will realize that this new posture, this additional effort is not only fair; it is absolutely necessary. Otherwise, I fear that international peace and security will remain a mirage," he said.

Chinese President Hu Jintao said the UN, "as the core of the collective security mechanism, plays an irreplaceable role in international cooperation to ensure global security. Such a role can only be strengthened and must not in any way be weakened," he added. The UN should take concrete measures to implement the Millennium Development Goals, he said, adding that international terrorists, ethnic separatists and religious extremists remain rampant.

President Ludwig Scotty of the Pacific island nation of Nauru stressed the importance of the Millennium Development Goals and urged development partners and international financial institutions to "understand our dire need." The country is being submerged by rising sea levels, as global warming melts the world's glaciers and polar ice caps.

President Denis Sassou Nguesso of the Republic of the Congo appealed for a significant increase in funding to help African countries meet the Millennium Development Goals, and he called for "action while there is still time."

Mongolian President Nambar Enkhbayar declared that for its faults the UN has proved indispensable, preventing wars, feeding the hungry, ending colonialism and helping nations to develop. "The UN is our common house, common cause and common future," he added, stressing "effective multilateralism with the UN at its heart."

In a statement Monday, the top UN environmental official called on the World Summit to give the environment priority as the key to human development.

Declaring that the “the environment is not a luxury, not a Gucci accessory bag or a fancy silk tie affordable only when all other issues have been resolved,” UN Environment Programme Executive Director Klaus Toepfer said significant, targeted investments in the environment will go a long way towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals.

The environment “is the oxygen breathing life into all the Goals,” Toepfer said.

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Prime Minister of Sweden Göran Persson (left) meets with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan at UN Headquarters Wednesday. (Photo courtesy UN)
At the Summit's opening on Wednesday, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan told the world leaders, that while the outcome document before them approved earlier this week at the close of the 59th General Assembly is not perfect, it would bring progress in fighting terrorism, peace building, democracy, and human rights and some reform of the UN organization.

Yet, said Annan, "We have not yet achieved the sweeping and fundamental reform that I and many others believe is required. Sharp differences, some of them substantive and legitimate, have played their part in preventing that."

"Our biggest challenge, and our biggest failing, is on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. Twice this year - at the NPT Review Conference, and now at this Summit - we have allowed posturing to get in the way of results. This is inexcusable. Weapons of mass destruction pose a grave danger to us all, particularly in a world threatened by terrorists with global ambitions and no inhibitions."

"Likewise, Security Council reform has, for the moment, eluded us, even though everyone broadly agrees that it is long overdue," Annan said. UN member states have not been able to agree on the number and composition of a reformed Security Council.

"We must now turn to the next stages in the reform process," Annan said. First, he called on the UN member states to implement what has been agreed.

"We must get the Peacebuilding Commission and the Human Rights Council up and running, conclude a comprehensive convention on terrorism, and make sure the Democracy Fund starts working effectively. And the coming years will test our resolve to halve extreme poverty by 2015, to act if genocide looms again, and to improve our success rate in building peace in war-torn countries," said Annan. "These are the tests that really matter."

The secretary-general called on member states to "keep working with determination on the tough issues on which progress is urgent but has not yet been achieved."

Because, Annan said, "whatever our differences, in our interdependent world, we stand or fall together."