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UN Summit Calls on Rich Nations to Help Fight Poverty

The UN summit went into its second day on Thursday with leaders from many developing nations calling on rich nations to keep their promises to help them achieve a series of development goals, including reducing poverty and fighting HIV/AIDS.


Opening the morning session, Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guellen stressed the role of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in creating a global partnership to reduce poverty, improve health, promote peace and human rights, gender equality and environmental sustainability.


The MDGs, adopted in the Millennium UN Summit, include a series of concrete objectives in fighting poverty, reducing hunger, expanding primary education, and containing the spread of HIV/AIDS, among others.


Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa called for "collaborative efforts between the developed and developing countries to accelerate global efforts" to achieve the MDGs and applauded recent efforts to provide more resources for development, including debt relief.


Ecuadorian President Alfredo Palacio said the MDGs are "a minimal, not a maximal agenda, a starting point, not the end. This basic commitment must be assumed by all the governments of the world."


President Francois Bozize of the Central African Republic stressed the need for solidarity in the battle against poverty and for more active solidarity among member states to promote peace, development, security and the rights of man.


Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh joined the voice for greater efforts to achieve the MDGs. "Five years later, we find that the international community is generous in setting goals, but parsimonious in pursuing them," he deplored.


"We must make greater efforts to mobilize the resources necessary to meet the MDGs. This would be a wise investment for the future. Failure will only make our task in the future much more difficult and much more costly," he warned.


South African President Thabo Mbeki echoed Singh's criticism of rich countries. "Our approach to the challenge to commit and deploy the necessary resources for the realization of the MDGs has been half-hearted, timid and tepid," he said.


"We have not achieved the required scale of resource transfer from those who have these resources, to empower the poor of the world to extricate themselves from their misery," he noted.


The three-day 2005 UN summit, the largest gathering of world leaders in the UN history, brought together more than 150 presidents, prime ministers and kings, as well as high-ranking representatives from nearly 40 other countries. On top of the summit agenda is to review the progress toward the implementation of the MDGs.


(Xinhua News Agency September 16, 2005)


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