Asia, Africa urged to back UN reforms

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has urged Asian and African leaders to support his wide-ranging reform agenda for the world body.

    The UN chief addressed Asian and African leaders in Indonesia

    Addressing more than 40 heads of state on Friday at the opening of the summit of Asian and African nations, Annan said the developing world stands to benefit from his proposals to improve security and human rights.

    "The time has come for action - for concrete, measurable steps, leading to a quantum leap in resources for development," Annan said.

    "The developing world also stands to benefit enormously from major steps on security and human rights.

    "Your people pay the highest price for inaction in the face of massive violations of human rights and for the strains placed on the UN's peacekeeping, peacebuilding and human rights machinery," he said.

    Important summit

    The two-day summit in Indonesia has drawn together presidents, prime ministers and kings. 

    "The time has come for action - for concrete, measurable steps, leading to a quantum leap in resources for development"

    UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan

    The meeting commemorates the 50th anniversary of the first Asia-Africa conference that gave birth to the Non-aligned Movement, which tried to steer a neutral course between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

    Leaders are expected to establish a New Asian-African Strategic Partnership for closer economic and security ties, although a row between Asian giants China and Japan threatened to overshadow the summit.

    Action plan

    A plan of action to be endorsed at the summit calls for more cooperation in fighting terrorism and poverty, and improved economic cooperation between the two diverse continents.

    A row between China and Japan
    has cast a shadow over the meet

    The declaration also calls for a peaceful settlement of the Palestinian question and lasting peace in the Middle East. It endorses proposed reforms within the United Nations, including greater decision-making for developing countries.

    Annan has called for enlarging the Security Council to include more voices from the developing world and all regions and imposing more efficiency and accountability to the United Nations.

    Annan has said the UN needs a new, permanent human rights body with greater authority to combat appalling abuses around the world.

    His plan also calls for developed countries to provide 70 cents in official development assistance for every $100 of gross national income.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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