A summit billed as the largest gathering of world leaders in history achieved far less than U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan had hoped in the fight to overhaul the UN and alleviate poverty, terrorism and human rights abuses.
President Bush two years ago questioned whether the United Nations was relevant, surprised many by giving the world body his strong backing. He also won praise for declaring that poverty breeds terrorism and despair and challenging world leaders to abolish all trade tariffs and subsidies to promote prosperity and opportunity in struggling nations.
"I cannot disguise our profound disappointment that we were not able to agree at this summit on all of the elements required to make it operational," Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin said of the Human Rights Council at a news conference.
The three-day summit brought presidents, prime ministers and kings from 151 member states to the United Nations — a record number according to U.N. officials.
Yet instead of adopting Annan's sweeping blueprint to enable the world body to deal with the challenges of a new century, they were presented with a diluted 35-page document. The final document represented the lowest common denominator that all countries could agree on after months of negotiations.
[From article by Nick Wadhams, Associated Press Writer]