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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

20 June 2005

United States Prepared to Help Lead U.N. Reform Effort

Goal is an effective, accountable organization, United States says

The United States is ready to help lead the effort to strengthen and reform the United Nations as it prepares to engage in one of the most important debates in its history, according to a U.S. State Department announcement issued June 17.

In addition to discussing a number of key issues, the State Department announcement said that the United States is open to U.N. Security Council reform and expansion, including the creation of a U.N. Peace Building Commission for post-conflict situations.

Following is the text of the announcement:

(begin text)

Washington, D.C.
June 17, 2005


The United Nations is engaged in one of the most important debates in its history: how to reform itself, strengthen itself as an institution, and ensure that it addresses effectively the threats and challenges of the 21st century. The United States is prepared to help lead the effort to strengthen and reform the U.N.  What follows are key issues the U.S. has identified as priorities, as we work with the U.N. and other member states towards the goal of a strong, effective, and accountable organization.

-- Budget, Management, and Administrative Reform: We must ensure the highest standards of integrity and promote efficiency within the U.N. system, so that member states receive the greatest benefit from resources invested in the institution. Meaningful institutional reform must include measures to improve internal oversight and accountability, to identify cost savings, and to allocate resources to high priority programs and offices.

-- Peace Building Commission: We strongly support the Secretary-General's idea of a Peace Building Commission that would allow the U.N. to be more effective in galvanizing the work of the international community to help countries after the fighting has stopped. Such a Commission would play an important role in helping countries in post-conflict situations. It could provide reconstruction and humanitarian support and set the stage for long-term development.

-- Human Rights Council: We support the Secretary-General's initiative to replace the Commission on Human Rights with a smaller, action-oriented Human Rights Council, whose membership should not include states with a record of abuse. The problems with the current Commission, where human-rights abusers sit in judgment of democratic countries, are well known. The Council's mandate would be to address the most egregious human rights abuses, provide technical assistance, and promote human rights as a global priority.

-- Democracy Initiatives and the U.N. Democracy Fund: President Bush in his September 2004 U.N. General Assembly speech put this proposal on the table, as democracy promotion is one of our core aims. The Secretary-General has endorsed it and we hope all countries will contribute to the Fund. The goal is to create a mechanism for supporting new and emerging democracies, providing assistance that would help develop civil society and democratic institutions.

-- Comprehensive Convention on Terrorism: We strongly support the adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on Terrorism (CCIT), a subject of longstanding debate. This would be an important symbolic achievement in the U.N.'s global effort to counter terrorism. It is time to put this forward and come to agreement in the General Assembly.

-- Development: The United States plays a leading, active, and positive role in development. We share a commitment to building healthy institutions and strong economies, through trade, foreign investment, and aid. As agreed in the Monterrey Consensus, the focus should be on supporting good governance and sound economic policies. We look forward to the High-Level Event in September as an opportunity to renew our collective commitment to eradicating poverty and promoting sustained economic development.



The United States is open to U.N. Security Council reform and expansion, as one element of an overall agenda for U.N. reform. We advocate a criteria-based approach under which potential members must be supremely well qualified. We have to look, of course, at the overall geographic balance of the Council, but effectiveness remains the benchmark for any reform.

(end text)

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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