A summit billed as the largest gathering of world leaders in history achieved far less than UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan had hoped in the fight to overhaul the UN and alleviate poverty, terrorism and human-rights abuses.
After three days in which Syria was the only one of 191 member states not to give a speech before the General Assembly, the leaders adopted a 35-page document that commits their governments to achieving UN goals to combat poverty and creates a commission to help move nations from war to peace.
Leaders praised the document as a first step toward sweeping UN reform and helping the world's poor. But just as often, they expressed disappointment at what was left out: any mention of disarmament, UN Security Council reform and details of a plan to replace the discredited Human Rights Commission with a new human-rights council.
"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 on Friday.
As is often the case with such events, it was meetings on the sidelines of the summit marking the UN's 60th anniversary that produced the most exciting headlines.
There were rare contacts between Arab states and Israel, which won praise for its withdrawal from Gaza. Many nations signed a new treaty aimed at preventing nuclear terrorism. Iran's new president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, made his UN debut by saying that Iran was willing to offer nuclear technology to other Muslim states, Iran's state-run Islamic Republic News Agency reported.
The three-day summit brought presidents, prime ministers and kings from 151 of the 191 UN member states to the UN.
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.
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