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UN Summit Ends with Adoption of Outcome Document

The three-day UN summit concluded on Friday evening at the UN headquarters in New York with the adoption of the Outcome Document calling for promoting development and strengthening security.


Addressing the closing session of the summit, Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson, whose country holds the presidency of the 60th UN General Assembly, described the declaration as the "document that takes decisive steps in strengthening the UN and collective security system."


Persson said the political message from the debate is clear: "We need to redouble our effort, additional resources must be mobilized and more forceful measures taken."


The majority world leaders who spoke at the summit approved the document, though some expressed reservations or regrets that it was not bolder in its proposals.


The document ranged from boosting development in poor countries and combating terrorism to creating new bodies for peace-building and human rights and UN reform.


"We owe that to millions of men, women and children that suffer from the diseases that could be cured, from conflicts that could be prevented, and from hunger that could be filled," the Swedish prime minister said.


Persson said the document clearly reaffirmed the commitment of the international community to achieving the Millennium Development Goals, which he described as "hope for a better future."


The issue of development has been a focus in the Summit's debate and the adopted document. Many delegates from the developing world felt relieved with the outcome, though some said it still fell short of their expectation.


Persson also listed other major achievements of the summit, such as the establishment of a peace-building commission to help countries emerging from conflict, the creation of a human rights council to promote respect for human rights and fundamental freedom.


"We have urged the need to conclude comprehensive convention and agree on the strategy to counter international terrorism, one of the most serious threats to international peace and security," he said.


On the issue of UN reform, Persson said the summit has taken good decision to strengthen the efficiency, effectiveness and accountability of the UN Secretariat.


However, the Outcome Document was generally considered a watered-down from UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's ambitious plan to make the 60-year-old organization more representative and better able to meet the global challenges.


Among other setbacks for the summit, world leaders failed to agree on issues of disarmament and nonproliferation. As a result, these were left out in the draft.


"The prospect of weapons of mass destruction being used again is terrifying. We cannot afford to let this happen. Our failure to address the threats from these weapons at this summit leaves us with a crucial task ahead," Persson said.


On the often heated debate on many of the global issues, Persson said the scenario is not surprising, nor is it a problem. "Instead, it shows the UN is a relevant and vibrant forum for debate over issues that concern us all today."


He urged all political leaders to keep the momentum created in the summit for months and years to come and remain committed to ensure that the summit's decision will turn into reality. "This summit should be seen as a starting point for reform process," he said.


The summit, which attracted 153 heads of state or government and high-ranking officials from nearly 40 other countries, is the largest-ever gathering of the world's leaders in UN history.


(Xinhua News Agency September 17, 2005)


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