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U.N. Approves Diluted Reform Plan

BY Admin  September 13, 2005 at 6:00 PM EDT

Reuters reported, Deputy U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson said, ”It’s a done deal.”

New initiatives agreed upon include the creation of a new human rights body and a Peacebuilding Commission and an obligation to intervene when civilians face genocide, according to Reuters.

A core group of 30 states, chosen by General Assembly President Jean Ping of Gabon, have been negotiating the specifics of the plan since August, when several significant differences arose about such issues as disarmament and nuclear nonproliferation, overhauling the central human rights body and the definition of terrorism.

Those issues are part of a sweeping reform plan Secretary-General Kofi Annan proposed in March to turn around the embattled organization. And while some of his proposals have been included in the document, such as the Peacebuilding Commission to help countries emerging from conflict, several of his items were removed or left to the General Assembly to decide later.

Any mention of plans to expand the U.N. Security Council, whose structural makeup hasn’t been changed since 1965, was dropped from the plan. Member states are expected to take up the issue at a December meeting.

“This is not the alpha and omega and we never thought it would be,” said U.S. Ambassador John Bolton, according to Reuters.

Bolton, appointed Aug. 1 by President Bush, pushed hard for U.S. interests, shaking up the negotiations last month by submitting 750 revisions to the document.

“It was only ever going to be the first step,” Bolton said before an agreement had been reached, Reuters reported. “The nature of the culture is such that the changes that we want, both in the way the secretariat functions and in the way the member governments function, needs to be changed in a substantial way.”

Some 150 world leaders, including President Bush, are expected to attend this week’s summit in heavily fortified Manhattan. Some 4,000 police officers and security forces will patrol the area.