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Annan Calls for Compromises on Document for UN Summit

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Thursday warned ambassadors to the UN of a failure of next week's UN summit if they could not make compromises and produce a solid draft outcome document for the largest gathering in the organization's history.


"I really hope we don't get to that stage," said Annan in a joint interview with Xinhua and China Central Television. "I don't even want to contemplate the possibility of a failure."


"This is a once in a generation opportunity and member states have to seize it and come up with a good outcome document that the heads of state can endorse," he said.


A "core group," composed of the US, Russia and 30 other nations, concluded another day of marathon negotiations on Thursday on the outcome document without any significant progress.     


The document, a blueprint for reforming the UN, calls for the creation of a peace building commission, establishment of a human rights council, recognition of the responsibility to protect civilians threatened with the risk of genocide, UN management reforms, among others.


"There are very good ideas on the table and I think they will have to look at this in a broader context. If one stares at it in narrow national interests you can not move forward," he warned.


"We have to look at it in the collective interest and try and make necessary compromises to move forward and I really expect the negotiations to do that," he stressed.


Annan said he was disappointed that no progress had been made on the issue of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. "There is some consensus at the hall. But we don't seem to be able to come to an understanding as to how to move forward."


He also repeated his call for support for reform of the UN's management after Paul Volcker, former chairman of the US Federal Reserve, released a new report on the investigation into the mismanagement and corruption in the oil-for-food program.


"The outcome of that report is one more reason why we should press ahead with the reforms on the table and additional reforms may be needed," he said.


When asked about whether opponents of the UN in the US would stop attacking the organization after the release of Volcker's report, Annan said: "Some of the critics will never stop, but reasonable men and women will know that we've done everything we can to find the truth and are going to take steps to correct that."


"Those who are determined to destroy the UN and will attack me in the hope of getting to the UN will never stop," he predicted.


"We accept fair and reasonable criticism, but those who go beyond the zone of reasonable and fair criticism and attack us unfairly, I don't think we should bother with them or let them bother us."


Citing the UN's leading role in Asia tsunami relief campaign and the forthcoming summit, Annan rejected the assertion that the world organization is becoming irrelevant after the US led an invasion into Iraq without the UN's authorization.


"We are the only one with such a convening power and legitimacy to get so many heads of state to attend a meeting of this sort and we are very actively engaged in the world apart from our peacekeeping operations and humanitarian efforts," he noted.


The summit, which is slated for September 14-16, is expected to bring together some 180 heads of state and government.


(Xinhua News Agency September 9, 2005)


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