Dermot Ahern hails UN reforms package

Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern has welcomed the agreement reached on a programme of United Nations reforms which is being laid before world leaders gathering today for the UN Summit in New York.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern has welcomed the agreement reached on a programme of United Nations reforms which is being laid before world leaders gathering today for the UN Summit in New York.

Mr Ahern, who acted as an Envoy of the UN Secretary General, said the agreement vindicated Kofi Annan’s approach, which was based on the close linkages between development, security and human rights, and on the need for a strengthened United Nations to address them in an integrated way.

“Of course, the agreement does not include everything that Ireland and many other countries would have wished to see,” he said.

“I share in particular the Secretary-General’s disappointment that it contains nothing on disarmament and non-proliferation, nor on the need to strengthen the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

“Nonetheless, we have reaffirmed some key commitments on development, climate change and HIV/AIDS, as well as setting a course on a major agenda for change.

“We have agreed that the UN must improve its performance on human rights, and decided to establish a Human Rights Council.

“We will create a Peacebuilding Commission to help states emerging from conflict.

“We are committed to reaching agreement on means to control the deadly trade in small arms and light weapons.”

Mr Ahern said leaders were also committed to implementing the necessary changes in the organisation itself, to bring it into line with modern standards of management and accountability.

“I spoke with the Secretary General and warmly congratulated him,” he said.

“I told him it was a privilege to have worked with him in generating the momentum among the Member States for this programme for change.

“I know he very much appreciates Ireland’s long-standing commitment to the United Nations.

“The successful implementation of the change agenda will be a major priority for Ireland over the coming months.”

The compromise 35-page document aims to launch a major reform of the United Nations itself and galvanise efforts to ease global poverty.

US President George W Bush is among the first of 150 kings, presidents and prime ministers to address today’s opening session.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern is due to address the meeting tonight and is expected to announce a new target date for contributing 0.7 per cent of Ireland’s GNP towards Overseas Development Aid.

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