"In an effort to increase the relevance of, and confidence in, the United Nations, which was created 60 years ago to prevent a repetition of World War II, Secretary-General Kofi Annan on March 21 presented several proposals for reform of the world body to reflect the changed nature of global conflicts since 1945. The title of his 63-page report is "In Larger Freedom: Towards Development, Security and Human Rights for All."In the biggest reinterpretation, he asks the Security Council, in place of the traditional sacrosanctity of national sovereignty, to deem mass murder, repression and ethnic cleansing to be threats to international peace and security that the international community has the right to intervene to stop -- and to adopt a set of principles to ensure that such intervention takes place only when there is no other option.In another bold step, he proposes a succinct definition of terrorism and the creation of an international convention against it, along with strengthened controls on weapons to stop terrorists from getting their hands on them.In case you think that's easy, remember that diplomats have been tying themselves in knots over a definition of terrorism since even before Sept. 11, 2001." Full Article (Subscription or free Site Pass required)
"Secretary General Kofi Annan has begun that [reform] process by calling on member states to approve a wide range of reforms at a special General Assembly meeting this September. We strongly endorse Mr. Annan's agenda, especially his call for developed countries to establish timetables for living up to their promises to commit 0.7 percent of their gross national incomes to development aid by 2015 (the United States now contributes 0.18 percent) and for poor countries to come up with strategies for putting this aid to effective use." Read More
[CNN'S JOHN] KING: United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan is calling for a broad reform of the United Nations, including expanding the Security Council and increasing its emphasis on development, security and human rights.Joining me to discuss Annan's proposals and more is the former secretary of state and the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Madeleine Albright. She's now with the Albright Group.Madam Secretary, thank you for joining us. Let's start from one of the big issues, at least from the United States' perspective, or the Bush administration's perspective, in these U.N. reforms. Kofi Annan says he wants to find a more polite way, if you will, for the U.N. to debate and to have an actual mechanism, if there is a question, as there was in Iraq, of whether the United Nations should endorse military force. Can he make that work?MADELEINE ALBRIGHT, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: I think it's difficult. I'm very much in favor of the things that the secretary- general has suggested and the fact that he really has come out with a full reform package.He did a lot of work in getting opinions from this high level panel, and he's talked to a lot of people. And so I think he's come forward with a full package.But the hardest issue is always about the use of force. And the Security Council is supposed to deal with issues that are threats to peace and security. And I think, for the most part, it would be good if we were able to come to some general agreement about it.But ultimately, the United States will act unilaterally if it has to. We used to say multilaterally if you can, unilaterally if you must. But I am all for having a discussion about this. I think it's a very...KING: Is it a waste of time, though, to try to create a mechanism, like a rules of Congress in which you debate force, or is it just as it's always going to be, if somebody disagrees, move on?
Statement by Senator Timothy E. Wirth, President of the United Nations Foundation, on the "In Larger Freedom" Report Issued by Secretary-General Kofi AnnanWASHINGTON-Former Senator Timothy E. Wirth, President of the United Nations Foundation, issued the following statement regarding the release of "In Larger Freedom: Towards Security, Development and Human Rights for All" - a report issued today by Secretary-General Kofi Annan:"Secretary-General Kofi Annan has called on global leaders to strengthen their collective ability to tackle the most critical security and social challenges. Annan's report provides a unique opportunity for the United States to work with the UN and play a leadership role in addressing issues of terrorism, poverty, human rights and the environment. At the same time, the report identifies steps that will help make the UN itself a more effective and efficient organization. The serious challenges addressed by the Secretary-General's report cannot be met by any one nation acting alone. As a global leader, the U.S. is well positioned to help the UN and the world community to address these fundamental challenges and make the world body a stronger organization."View the Full Report
THE SECRETARY-GENERAL STATEMENT TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY New York, 21 March 2005Mr. President, Excellencies,Thank you for allowing me to present to you, in person, the five-year progress report that you requested from me, on the implementation of the Millennium Declaration.The main message of that report is that the aims of the Declaration can be achieved, but only if you, the member states, are willing to adopt a package of specific, concrete decisions this year.Some of those decisions are so important that they need to be taken at the level of heads of state and government. It is therefore very fortunate that your heads of state and government have agreed to come here for a summit meeting in September. I am giving you my report six months ahead of that meeting, so that your governments have ample time to consider it. My hope is that world leaders, when they arrive here in September, will be ready to take the decisions that are needed.
Washington Post: "Secretary General Kofi Annan on Monday will propose establishing new rules for the use of military force, adopting a tough anti-terrorism treaty that would punish suicide bombers, and overhauling the United Nation's discredited human rights commission, according to a confidential draft of a report on U.N. reform." Full Article
Statement by Senator Timothy E. Wirth, President of the United Nations Foundation, on United Nations ReformWASHINGTON - Former Senator Timothy E. Wirth, President of the United Nations Foundation, issued the following statement regarding today's House International Relations Committee hearing [Room 2172, Rayburn House Office Building] on UN reform."The challenges of the 21st Century, including combating terrorism, alleviating poverty, addressing global climate change, stopping diseases like AIDS, and helping people recover after the devastation of natural disasters need the commitment of many nations and a United Nations even better prepared and able to meet these challenges. Secretary-General Kofi Annan recognizes the change and reform that is needed and is making modernization of the UN a top priority.
Audio link.TRANSCRIPT:State of the United Nations ANCHORS: NEAL CONAN NEAL CONAN, host:This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington.The crises that face the United Nations today include charges of corruption and mismanagement, rape and murder by UN peacekeepers, and the deep rift between the world body and its most important member, the United States. The UN has also found itself a target in some places in the world. A huge bomb destroyed the UN headquarters in Baghdad a year and a half ago. Just last week, nine UN peacekeepers from Bangladesh were killed in the Congo. As part of an effort to reform and revitalize the institution, Secretary-General Kofi Annan replaced his longtime chief of staff. The new number-three at the UN is Mark Malloch Brown, previously vice president for communications at the World Bank who's earned praise as the head of the UNDP, the UN Development Program. Since taking the job as chief of staff, he's mounted what some call a charm offensive here in Washington, DC, and he's also played a roll in tsunami relief.
Remarks released by the State Department: "RICE: The Secretary General and I did have a very good talk.... We talked about a wide variety of issues, the events in Lebanon, the need to make certain that Resolution 1559 is adhered to. We had an opportunity to discuss Sudan and the importance of the Sudanese Government taking seriously the concerns and demands of the international community to bring relief to that long suffering population. We also talked a good bit about U.N. Reform, about the fact that the United States as a founding member of the United Nations wants this to be a strong organization, an organization that is fit and ready for the challenges of the 21st century and we very much appreciate the Secretary General's commitment to United Nations reform in all of its aspects, in all of its manifestations."