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Shaking up the UN.

* Our UN correspondent Ian Williams writes: Kofi Annan has unveiled what his spokesman rightly calls a "doable" set of reforms. Those that will attract the most attention, such as a proposed enlargement of the Security Council, are not necessarily the most important. Indeed, there is also a danger that the developing nations--particularly the African states--encouraged by the media, will get bogged down in the question of who sits on the Security Council rather than addressing the more important questions of what the council and the General Assembly should do about major issues like security, poverty, development, AIDS and malaria. In an attempt to win global support Annan offered something for everyone on human rights, democracy, terrorism security and development. He envisions a Human Rights Council that would be smaller and more effective than the current model and that would exclude repeat offenders from membership. However, he may have been too trusting of the Bush Administration's claims of concern about democracy and human rights, given recent appointments establishing the dominance of the faith-based faction, with its reflexive antipathy to all multilateral endeavors. The White House may seize on Annan's call for nations to commit 0.7 percent of their GDP to overseas aid and for renewal of the Kyoto Protocol as excuses to renege on US rhetoric about democracy and human rights. The make-or-break date for the proposals will be September, when there will be a global summit for heads of state to celebrate the UN's sixtieth anniversary.

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Title Annotation:In Fact ...
Author:Sirota, David
Publication:The Nation
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Apr 11, 2005
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