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Make NAM more effective: Annan

The UN chief urges world leaders to protect populations from genocide, war crimes and ethnic cleansing.

india Updated: Sep 24, 2006 20:01 IST

Warning that "sheer size" does not equal success, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on Friday, urged world leaders attending the NAM summit to make the movement more effective by fulfilling their responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes and ethnic cleansing.

Annan also stressed on the need for progress toward resolving conflicts in the Middle East and asked the leaders to build a multilateral system capable of taking on the current challenges.

He said governments had a duty to "protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. That includes a duty to protect populations from carnage by allowing the international community to make a positive contribution for change."

He noted that many states were implementing democratic reforms. "the number of countries going regularly to the polls is higher than ever before...Many of our nations are making progress on human rights."

Stressing on the need to tackle the the root causes of problems, he said the non-aligned countries have the responsibility to work towards making "real progress" in the greater Middle East.

The daily violence in Iraq and Afghanistan provides a "powerful reminder" that, "without judicious interventions on the political front," the slide to anarchy and civil war becomes "inexorable."

"The war in Lebanon has been a wake up call for many governments around the world. They are becoming more and more convinced of the need to deal with the root causes of the problem," he said.

Reminding them that they had already accepted the principle of international responsibility to protect population and it had worked in Sierra Leone and the Congo, he asserted that it must be made to work in Darfur, if a major crisis is to be averted.

Sudan is resisting induction of United Nations peacekeepers in Darfur where tens of thousands of people have died and more than two million made homeless in three years of conflict between government forces and rebels.

Lauding the progress the movement has made so far, he urged them to build on the achievements by taking a "comprehensive" approach, which gives equal weight to three "fundamental pillars" of development, security and human rights.

Pointing out that the members of the non-aligned movement have made strides that could do them proud, he regretted that the voice of the "global south" is not heard in international arena as it should be.

"That is painfully true in of our voice in trade negotiations where developing nations have been so instrumental in setting the agenda. Lamentable setbacks in the Doha trade talks have led some to contemplate settling for something less than a true development round - or for no round at all," he said.
"That must not happen," he told the leaders.