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Source: General Assembly
16 September 2005

General Assembly
GA/10385

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixtieth General Assembly
Plenary
7th & 8th Meetings (AM & PM)

WORLD LEADERS PLEDGE WIDE-RANGING STEPS ON POVERTY, TERRORISM, HUMAN RIGHTS,
UN REFORM, AS 2005 SUMMIT CONCLUDES IN NEW YORK

...


World leaders wrapped up the largest summit in United Nations history tonight, pledging to give new momentum to global development goals and to strengthen the 60-year-old world body, so that it can live up to the ideals on which it was founded.

Adopting a resolution containing the outcome document of the 2005 World Summit, some 150 Heads of State and Government attending the three-day gathering agreed to take action on a wide range of global issues, from boosting development in poor countries and combating terrorism, as well as to create new United Nations bodies for peacebuilding and human rights.

Opening with a strong and unambiguous commitment to achieve the Millennium Development Goals -- a series of ambitious targets, ranging from halving extreme poverty, to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and to providing universal primary education by 2015 -- the document also highlights the leaders’ agreement to provide immediate support for “quick impact” initiatives to support anti-malaria efforts, education and health care.

Acknowledging that peace, security, development and human rights were central pillars of the United Nations, the leaders reaffirmed that “development was a central goal ... and that sustainable development in its economic, social and environmental aspects constituted a key element of the overarching framework of the United Nations activities”.

They also pledged an additional $50 billion a year to fight poverty, and reaffirmed their commitment to address the special needs of Africa, resolving to help boost foreign investment in the continent, make efforts to integrate African countries in the international trading system, and work towards durable solution to the huge external debt burden that many African countries felt impeded their development plans.  All developing countries agreed to adopt national plans for achieving the Millennium Goals by 2006.

Recognizing that current developments and circumstances required that they urgently build consensus on major threats and challenges, the leaders also expressed clear and unqualified condemnation -- by all Governments, for the first time -- of terrorism “in all its forms and manifestations, committed by whomever, wherever and for whatever purposes”.

They also pledged to push for a comprehensive convention against terrorism within a year, and agreed to fashion a strategy to fight terrorism in a way that makes the international community stronger and terrorists weaker.  They also pledged support for early entry into force of the Nuclear Terrorism Convention and encouraged all States to join and implement it, as well as the 12 other anti-terrorism conventions.

The leaders also stressed that they were prepared to take collective action, in a “timely and decisive manner”, through the Security Council and in accordance with the Charter, to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, when peaceful means prove inadequate and national authorities are manifestly failing to do it.

Pledging to enhance the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, accountability and credibility of the United Nations, the leaders took several steps to strengthen the world body, closely mirroring the reform agenda proposed by the Secretary-General this past March in his report, “In Larger Freedom”.

The Summit decided to create a Peacebuilding Commission to help countries recovering from conflict, backed by a support office and a standing fund.  The body will begin its work no later than 31 December.  It also endorsed the creation of a new standing police capacity for United Nations peacekeeping operations.

Taking decisive steps to strengthen the United Nations human rights machinery, the Summit agreed to dismantle the current Geneva-based Commission on Human Rights and establish a Human Rights Council during the coming year.  It requested the General Assembly President to conduct open and transparent negotiations to decide on the new body’s functions, size and membership.

On one of the most talked about proposals included in the Secretary-General’s reform agenda, expansion of the Security Council, the leaders agreed that reform of the 15-nation body “was an essential element of our overall effort to reform the United Nations in order to make it more broadly representative, efficient and transparent”.  They committed themselves to “continuing our efforts to achieve a decision to this end and request the General Assembly to review progress on reform ... by the end of 2005”. 

Throughout the three days of debate, delegations had expressed concerns that the document did not go far enough, among other things, in calling for concrete action on expanding the Council, eliminating Africa’s debt, and increasing the Secretary-General’s authority.

Mr. Annan himself had expressed particular disappointment that all references to disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation had been dropped from the text.  “We have allowed posturing to get in the way of results”, he said in his opening address to the Summit.  “This is inexcusable.  Weapons of mass destruction pose a grave danger to us all ... we must pick up the pieces in order to renew negotiations on this vital issue.”

After action on the document, Cuba’s representative pointed to gaps on crucial issues, such as disarmament, and the representative of Belarus said the document had not brought States together, as the Charter had intended.  He called on delegates and all States to continue working together on the ideals inscribed in the Charter.  The Co-Chairs stressed the importance of the multilateralism that had led to a commonly accepted statement.

Addressing the General Assembly on the final day of the 2005 World Summit were the Presidents of:   Paraguay, Kyrgyzstan, Indonesia, Republic of Moldova, Panama, Poland, Togo, Bolivia, Croatia, Suriname, Portugal, Dominican Republic, Colombia, El Salvador, Guyana, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Lebanon, Maldives, and Malawi.

Also speaking to the Assembly were the Prime Ministers of:  Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Greece, Australia, Norway, Grenada, Thailand, Liechtenstein, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Canada, Armenia, Tuvalu, Timor-Leste, Guinea-Bissau, Fiji, and Niger,

Vice Presidents from Guatemala and Costa Rica, and Deputy Prime Ministers from Vanuatu, Turkmenistan, and Singapore also spoke.

The Foreign Ministers of Uzbekistan, Bahamas, Nicaragua, Chad, Azerbaijan, Nepal, Trinidad and Tobago, New Zealand, Egypt, Myanmar, Tunisia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tonga, Papua New Guinea, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Honduras also made statements.

The King of Jordan, the Crown Prince of Bahrain, the Minister of Information and Culture and Personal Representative of the President of United Arab Emirates, the Minister of National Heritage and Culture and Special Envoy of the Sultan of Oman, the Secretary of State of the Holy See, the President of the National Assembly of Cuba, the Chairman of the National Transitional Government of Liberia, the Minister for Economic Affairs and Development of Mauritania, the Foreign Minister of the Palestinian Authority, and the representative of Yemen also addressed the Summit.

Statements were also made by representatives of the League of Arab States, European Community, Organization of Islamic Conference, Inter-Parliamentary Union, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, Council of Europe, Commonwealth Secretariat, International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, Centre for Peruvian Women “Flora Tristan”, BHI Holdings Ltd., Asian Development Bank, and the African Development Bank.

The General Assembly will reconvene Saturday, 17 September, to begin its general debate for the sixtieth session.

Background

The General Assembly met this morning to continue its High-level Plenary, dubbed the 2005 World Summit, convened to consider the status of the Millennium Development Goals, and to take decisions on Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s agenda for reforming the United Nations

Statements

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NASSER AL-KIDWA, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Observer for Palestine, speaking on behalf of the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, said he carried the pain and hopes of his people and their trust in the commitment of the United Nations to solving their cause, which had been before the General Assembly for 58 years.  Palestine faced two historic tasks:  achieving independence and peace; and the development and building of state institutions.  The first priority would be to end the occupation and achieve freedom.  The way to end occupation was found in the Road Map, which had been endorsed by the Security Council.  The goal was the achievement of peace on the basis of a two-State solution: Palestine and Israel, based on the Armistice Line of 1949.

He said there was now an opportunity to relaunch the peace process; an opportunity provided in the aftermath of the disengagement in the Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank, which had been dealt with positively, despite its unilateral nature.  It was incumbent upon Israel to turn that unilateral withdrawal into a positive step in a real way.  All outstanding major issues must be resolved, otherwise Gaza would remain a huge prison.  The Sharm el Sheikh understandings must also be implemented.  Israel must withdraw to its pre-28 September 2000 positions, release prisoners and create an atmosphere of hope and trust.  However, no serious revival of the peace process would be achieved without the complete cessation of all settlement activities, the construction of the wall and an end to the continued dissection of the West Bank.

East Jerusalem was the capital of Palestine, he said.  Its encirclement by the separation wall, its isolation and the denial of access by Palestinians to their holy places would only destroy the foundations of peace.  Partnership was key to success, and the best way to achieve progress would be to proceed immediately into final status negotiations to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a way that guaranteed the establishment of the State of Palestine on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and a resolution of the plight of the refugees in accordance with resolution 194.

Palestine had made much progress, as well as important accomplishments in the reform and development of its governmental and financial institutions, he said.  Palestine also needed a strong and reformed United Nations.  The world was at a crossroads, particularly in the Middle East.  It was time to achieve real and effective progress towards peace, stability, security, construction and co-existence or face a return to the vicious cycle of terrorism and violence.

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For information media • not an official record


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