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Australian PM Hails Progress in Summit

Australian Prime Minister John Howard urged the international community to contribute more to world security and development through a more effective United Nations when he addressed the UN summit on Friday.

Noting the world today still lives under the shadow of global terrorism, he reiterated Australia's support for the counter terrorism outcomes of the summit, including the momentum to conclude the Comprehensive Terrorism Convention.

But he said more could have been achieved, deploring the lack of language on disarmament and non proliferation, particularly given the risk of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to terrorists.

He described the endorsement by world leaders of the concept of a "Responsibility to Protect" as a significant step forward, and said Australia supports a strong Council that is capable of responding to serious human rights abuses effectively and with credibility.

History has shown that the most stable and prosperous nations over time have responsive political institutions as their common link, he said.

The challenge for the United Nations now is to re-define its authority and responsibility in the global environment, he said.

On development issues, the prime minister said Australia welcomes US President Bush's pledge that the United States is ready to eliminate all tariffs, subsidies and other barriers to the free flow of goods and services if other nations do the same. He reiterated the Australian government's goal to double its overseas aid allocation from 2004 levels to around US$4 billion by 2010.

He said the international community must recognize the high cost of ignoring fragile states. Responding to their challenges requires new ways of acting which recognize the links between security and economic development.

(Xinhua News Agency September 17, 2005)

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