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Envoys Make Last-minute Efforts to Salvage UN Reform Draft

Diplomats from a group of 32 countries continued closed negotiations Monday night in a last-ditch effort to salvage a draft blueprint to reform the UN, which world leaders are supposed to approve during their summit in New York.


After day-long negotiations, delegates agreed to accept compromises on the issues of terrorism, the peace-building commission and the human rights council, which were proposed by Britain on behalf of the EU.


Based on the compromises, General Assembly President Jean Ping, who is also Gabon's foreign minister, presented a new 39-page version of the so-called draft outcome document late Monday afternoon.


But the core group, composed of the US, Russia, China and representatives of regional groupings, remained divided on the issues of development and the UN management reform.


The new text does not contain both the political definition of terrorism, a key proposal of the EU, and the legal rights of resistance against foreign occupation.


On the human rights council, the text only says the UN member states "resolve to create a human rights council," and requests the next session of the General Assembly to discuss how to establish such a body, which would replace the Geneva-based Human Rights Commission.


On the peace-building commission, the text does not say to which organ, the Security Council or the General Assembly, the new body would report. The US has insisted that the commission report only to the Security Council, but developing countries want it to report to the General Assembly.


Negotiators said they hope to finalize the outcome document before the 59th session of the General Assembly closes Tuesday morning.


On Wednesday, some 160 heads of state and government will gather at the UN headquarters in New York to start three days of debate over global development, security, and the UN reforms. It will be the largest summit in the UN's history.


(Xinhua News Agency September 13, 2005)


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