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UN smiles for the cameras, sighs backstage

UN smiles for the cameras, sighs backstage
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Day two of the UN’s landmark summit begins under, if not a cloud, then at least skies overcast by what the world’s leaders have not been able to agree on. However, Secretary-General Kofi Annan has been able to toast deals on fighting terrorism and poverty, even if the fundamental reforms he and others deem essential for the UN’s future have slipped through the net.

There is also a belated recognition that terrorism often has its origins in misery and poverty, and that one way to fight it is to improve people’s lives. British Prime Minister Tony Blair: “If we fulfilled our undertakings at this summit our modesty would surprise. There would be more democracy, less oppression, more freedom, less terrorism, more growth, less poverty; the effects would be measured in the lives of millions of people who will never hear these speeches or read our statements. But it would, I suggest, be the proper vocation of political leadership and the UN would live up to its name”. With two days to go the UN is putting a brave face on things but it is far from a happy family, as the negotiations to forge this 60th anniversary package have driven a wedge of divisions between its members.