Bahai News - U.N. Millennium Summit NOTE: Not strictly Baha'i News, but is related to the ideals of the Baha'i Faith.

We live in exciting times, a time of transition, a time of convergence, walking across a bridge to which can never return:

* Baha'u'llah:

The Great Being, wishing to reveal the prerequisites of the peace and tranquillity of the world and the advancement of its peoples, hath written: The time must come when the imperative necessity for the holding of a vast, an all-embracing assemblage of men will be universally realized. The rulers and kings of the earth must needs attend it, and, participating in its deliberations, must consider such ways and means as will lay the foundations of the world's Great Peace amongst men. Such a peace demandeth that the Great Powers should resolve, for the sake of the tranquillity of the peoples of the earth, to be fully reconciled among themselves. ...
[Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh Revealed After the Kitáb-i-Aqdas: LAWH-I-MAQSUD (Tablet of Maqsud)]

Arguing the World

All the World's Leaders Come Together at the U.N. Summit to Discuss All the World's Problems

From Wire Reports
Sept. 5 — All the world’s problems will be put on the table for discussion at the U.N. Millennium Summit, running through Friday, as more than 150 kings, presidents and prime ministers arrive in New York.
    
Planning for the U.N. Millennium Summit has been in the works for two years, including hanging posters throughout New York to soothe residents navigating the inevitable traffic nightmare.
     The session, from today through Friday, is billed as the largest-ever gathering of world leaders, even bigger than the world body’s 50th anniversary celebrations five years ago, which drew some 118 heads of state and government.
     But this year the program is more ambitious.
     As the leaders address the General Assembly for a proposed — but rarely executed — five minutes each, those not speaking are in closed round-table discussions to map out myriad programs that would help lift people out of poverty, prevent wars and save the environment.
     On the sidelines and in some forums, the critical Middle East peace process is the subject of meetings between President Bill Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
     However, Barak, who was one of the first leaders to arrive in New York City on Monday, warned that he will only give a Mideast peace treaty a few weeks to be concluded, raising the possibility of failure ahead of crucial talks with President Clinton during this week’s U.N. summit.
     The formal deadline for a treaty, Sept. 13, is widely expected to be missed. Barak has said it is now up to the Palestinians to compromise, and Israel’s Foreign Ministry said Monday the prime minister is not planning to present new ideas to President Clinton when they meet today.

Congo on Some Agendas
African leaders hope for a meeting on the Congo’s many-sided civil war, although Congo President Laurent Kabila will be nowhere in sight. In Sierra Leone, rebels are fighting the government as well as U.N. peacekeepers.
     A new president, Abdiqassim Salad Hassan, elected a week ago, will fill Somalia’s U.N. seat for the first time in a decade.
In preparation for the meeting, Annan called in an April report for benevolent globalization in the 21st century to ensure that the information revolution did not leave billions of people behind in poverty.
When the summit meeting ends, there are to be commitments to ambitious global targets. World leaders will pledge to halve the number of the world’s people who live on less than $1 a day. There are more than a billion such people.
     Almost an equal number — many of them the same ones — do not have access to clean water. Their number should also be cut in half by 2015, leaders will say. By that year too, a primary school education should be provided to all boys and girls.
     The leaders will also be asked to halt and reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015.

Getting Past Talk?
With every issue on the table, many are asking whether anything but vague statements can result despite the specific targets Annan has proposed.
     “I would expect the summit to come up with a program of action not just for the United Nations but also for the members states,” Annan told the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London via an audio link on Monday.
“Yes, we have a major problems, so let’s solve them together,” he said.
     Issuing a stark warning to member states that they were not doing enough to back the organization’s peacekeeping role in trouble spots around the globe, Annan signaled that this week’s Millennium Summit would be “no celebration” for the United Nation’s track record.
     “It sometimes seems as if it is when the fire breaks out we begin to think of building a fire house,” he said. “When we have the capacity to do good we should muster the will to act,” he said.

Mini-summits Planned
Within the summit, a series of mini-summits is planned. Leaders representing the 15 countries on the Security Council will discuss peacekeeping, especially in Africa, and a recent blue-ribbon panel report on how to recruit better-trained and more professional troops.
Leaders of the five countries that are permanent council members are likely to meet separately: Clinton, Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Jacques Chirac, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Chinese President Jiang Zemin.
     In addition, more than 700 one-on-one meetings between leaders are expected, with the United Nations setting up cubicles for those not meeting at hotels around town.

Those Not on the Guest List...
Not joining the limousine-and-sirens fest is Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, who has not left his country for at least a decade.
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi also has not said he is attending, and Kim Jong-il of North Korea has declined. But Cuban President Fidel Castro, who came to the 1995 U.N. anniversary celebration, has decided to come.
Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, under indictment by a U.N. tribunal for war crimes in Kosovo, will not be in New York.
Afghanistan’s ruler, Mullah Mohammed Omar Mujahid, was not invited because somebody else is sitting in his chair. Burhanuddin Rabbani, the president driven out of Kabul and into exile in 1996, is speaking because the Taliban government is not recognized by the United Nations.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

The Color of Dissent
New York police will have their hands full over the next few days, with more than 150 world leaders expected in town for the United Nations Millennium Summit.
Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik says more than 90 demonstrations are planned for the three-day event, which begins tomorrow. It’s being billed as the largest gathering ever of heads of state and government.
There’s already been some trouble. An Iranian man was arrested over the weekend for throwing yellow paint at a car carrying Iran’s president. Three other Iranians were arrested for dumping yellow paint in or near the hotel where the Iranian delegation is staying.
A spokesman for an Iranian dissident group says yellow is the “color of disapproval.”

The Associated Press


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