Disagreement on genocide and disarmament hinders mandate for 21st century
September 8, 2005, Thursday
The Times (London)
By: David Charter and Greg Hurst
A BATTLE is raging for the soul of the United Nations as key nations call into question its role in curbing the spread of weapons and preventing genocide, according to a leaked document obtained by The Times.
Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary-General, had hoped to use the largest-ever gathering of kings, presidents and prime ministers in New York next week to revive the organisation and refresh its mandate for the 21st century after the divisions over Iraq.
But there are deep divisions over a 35-page declaration of the UN's aims and principles, the latest draft of which has been seen by The Times.
But one section of Mr Annan's proposed statement that is also still in brackets, signifying that it is under dispute, is the paragraph that "invites" members of the Security Council to give up their veto "in cases of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity".
Brendan Cox, an Oxfam spokesperson, said: "If these brackets become deletions they will tear out almost everything of meaning in the draft agreement. The possible changes to the anti-genocide agreement are particularly savage. The US, India and Pakistan have to get behind the agreement and end their attempts to water it down or make it an impotent initiative. The current brackets contain all the important aspects of the agreement. Deleting them would make the agreement a futile gesture."
He added: "We have seen what happens when the world fails to protect its civilians, it is time world leaders learnt those lessons and acted on them. With less than a week to go to the summit the Prime Minister has to go into diplomatic overdrive to save this summit