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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

On third and final day, UN World Summit set to approve wide-ranging proposals

16 September 2005 Entering its third and final day today, the United Nations World Summit, the largest-ever gathering of Heads of State and Government, was set to approve a raft of proposals ranging from boosting development in poor countries and combating terrorism to creating new bodies for peace-building and human right and UN reform.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan has called the outcome document containing the proposals a good instrument he could work with and build upon to streamline the UN to meet the many new challenges of the 21st century, although he deplored the omission in it of tools to deal with nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.

Many of the more than 150 top leaders who spoke on the first two days of what is official called the High-level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly approved the document, though some expressed reservations or regrets that it was not bolder in its proposals.

Mr. Annan has listed on the credit side its recommendations ranging from the condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and the clear responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes and ethnic cleansing to a reinvigoration of the battle against poverty, hunger and disease, and the establishment of a new Peacebuilding Commission and a greatly strengthened Human Rights Commission.

But on the debit side, he has been unstinting in his criticism of the omission of clauses dealing with nuclear non-proliferation, disarmament and Security Council reform and he has called on the leaders to “pick up the pieces” to renew negotiations on these issues since “weapons of mass destruction pose a grave danger to us all, particularly in a world threatened by terrorists with global ambitions and no inhibitions.”

In his opening address to the Summit on Wednesday Mr. Annan stressed the need to lock in the necessary progress to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), one of the meeting’s principal aim as a ?five-years-on’ review conference of the targets set by the 2000 Summit to slash a host of socio-economic ills, such as extreme poverty, hunger, infant and maternal mortality and lack of access to education, all by 2015.

“Millions of lives, and the hopes of billions, rest on the implementation of these and other pledges to fight poverty, disease, illiteracy and inequality, and on development remaining at the centre of trade negotiations in the year ahead,” he declared.

Under the clause on genocide, “you will be pledged to act if another Rwanda looms,” he added, referring to the 1994 genocide in which extremist Hutus massacred an estimated 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

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