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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


UN Summit Nears Conclusion, Declaration Due

16 September 2005

World leaders wrap up a United Nations summit Friday with a declaration of goals to reform the world body and alleviate global poverty.

As the three-day speech-making session neared its end, Jordan's King Abdullah said his Arab nation is working to promote moderate Islam worldwide.

"One critical step is to ensure zero tolerance toward those who promote extremism. Jordan has worked with the international Muslim community to oppose extremist interpretations of Islam," said King Abdullah.

The Jordanian leader met on the sidelines of the summit Friday with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. It was the fourth in a series of high-level contacts Mr. Sharon has had with Muslim leaders since the Israeli pullout from Gaza.

The leader of the world's most populous Muslim country, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, addressed the topic of terrorism in his summit speech Friday. Mr. Yudhoyono spoke of the need to develop an international mechanism to counter the threat of terrorism.

"We in Indonesia believe that interfaith dialogue and empowering the moderates can reduce violent radicalism," said President Yudhoyono.

President Yudhoyono also called for sweeping U.N. reform, including an expansion of the Security Council.

The subject of Council enlargement has been raised by many world leaders during the three-day event, but the document they are to approve at the conclusion of the summit gives the idea only passing mention.

Cuba's representative at the gathering served notice in his speech that Havana strongly opposes the entire reform and poverty alleviation package contained in the summit declaration.

National Assembly President Ricardo Alarcon, heard through an interpreter, called the reforms "modest" and said they had been designed by wealthy countries to turn the United Nations into an "instrument of their global dictatorship."

"We have before us an unforgivable sham. The objective of this meeting was held hostage through tortuous manipulation. Those who fancy themselves the world's owners do not even want to remember those promises and the hypocritical fanfare with which they were proclaimed," said Alarcon.

U.N. officials acknowledged Friday that North Korea had withdrawn from the list of summit speakers. They said a letter informing them of the cancellation gave no reasons.

North Korea's foreign minister had been included in early lists of speakers. The Pyongyang government has been in the international spotlight recently for withdrawing from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and for its nuclear ambitions, which are the subject of six-party talks currently under way in Beijing.

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