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UN summit talks break down over human rights, management reform differences

[JURIST] Intensive talks directed at salvaging a consensus draft document for the 2005 United Nations World Summit [official website] broke down Monday over differences on human rights and management reform, according to a spokesman for the US UN mission [official website]. Rick Grenell said that Egypt, China, Russia, and Pakistan have objected to a US-supported requirement of a two-thirds majority vote of the UN General Assembly to select a member of the new human rights council. The four countries are instead lobbying for a simple majority vote, and also disagree with the council becoming a permanent aspect of the UN. The proposed reforms to the standing Human Rights Commission were prompted by allegations that that body is run by countries with a history of abuse and driven by political bargaining which does not allow effective action on human rights. Grenell said that management reforms were also a major point of difference, with the US supporting more management powers being shifted to the Secrtary-General's office, and away from the General Assembly. Secretary-General Kofi Annan himself invoked a sense of urgency over the state of the summit document Monday, and encouraged all parties involved to continue negotiations [UN news report] AFP has more.

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