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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Adoption of 2005 World Summit Outcome hailed as historic step towards UN reform

16 September 2005 The co-chairs of the largest-ever gathering of heads of State and government this evening hailed the adoption of the 2005 World Summit Outcome as an historic step and urged that its words be translated into concrete actions.

"This decision reminds us that the threats and challenges encountered by our world require collective responses," said President Omar Bongo of Gabon after the applause accompanying the text's adoption died down. "The UN is the bedrock and the indispensable tool for building a system which is multilateral and effective."

President Bongo urged follow-up on reform to ensure a more "modern management" of the UN and to revitalize the General Assembly and the Security Council. This, he said, should usher in "an era of prosperity, peace and justice for all peoples of the world."

Goran Persson, the Prime Minister of Sweden, said the Outcome document takes decisive steps in strengthening the UN and the collective security system. At the same time, he called for continued actions to combat poverty, climate change and terrorism. The Summit's failure to address the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction "leaves us with a crucial task ahead." he said.

"The momentum created in this hall must be maintained in the months and years ahead," he declared, urging the leaders present to ensure that their decisions will be translated into reality. "This Summit should be seen as a starting point for the reform process," he said. "Let us join forces in making the 60th anniversary of the UN a year of change."

UN officials estimated that 149 heads of State or government addressed the Summit, while 154 attended the meeting. The disparity in the two numbers reflects the fact that some countries sent both a head of State and a head of government, but only one delivered a speech. Overall, nearly 900 passes were issued to dignitaries at the level of minister and above, and more than 5,200 to other delegates. The gathering also attracted over 2,200 journalists.

Prior to the adoption of the Outcome, Ali Rodriguez Araque, Venezuela's representative, said the document was "conceived in darkness" and voiced regret that there had not been adequate time for discussion. "The analysis of the documents was confined to a small group - 32 persons - and then to an even smaller group of 15 persons," he said, adding that the views of many were then eliminated by a yet smaller group.

"The procedure followed was so grotesque that it did not even allow us to express an opinion in favour of those aspects of the document with which we agreed," he said. "Nor was there the possibility for the majority of delegations here to express opinions." The UN, he said, can have "no good awaiting it" if it continued in this vein. He decried the document's omissions, including its lack of a reference to the threat posed by nuclear weapons.

Following the adoption of the text, his views were echoed by the representative of Cuba, Ovidio Roque Pedrera, who said there had been "gross irregularities in the negotiation process" that were compounded by the flaws in the document, which did not address nuclear disarmament. The representative of Belarus, Sergei Martynov, said the document had not really brought all nations together, and questioned its value.

Ambassador John Bolton of the United States said the document represents an important step in UN reform and pledged to work in the months ahead and beyond to advance this process.

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