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Annan urges US cooperation on rights council proposal

[JURIST] UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan [official website] has said that he is "chagrined" about the US opposition [JURIST report] to a draft resolution [PDF text; JURIST report] that would create a new UN Human Rights Council to replace the widely criticized Commission on Human Rights [official website]. Annan told reporters Thursday that the hoped the US would be able to "find some way of associating itself with the other member states," saying that it is important that a decision be made on the rights body as soon as possible. Though US rejection has lead to a delay [JURIST report] in the UN General Assembly's vote on the resolution, Europe has welcomed the resolution [JURIST report] with the European Union issuing a statement asserting that the proposal meets "the basic requirements for the establishment of a Human Rights Council" and that the EU "could therefore accept this text as a compromise."

US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton [official profile] has said that he will vote against the resolution unless modifications are made to the proposal that will take greater precautions to ensure that rights violators cannot get a seat on the council. The US is also pushing for a smaller body than the proposed 47-member council, and wants changes in the resolution that would make it easier for the US to obtain a seat. British Ambassador to the UN Emyr Jones Parry [official website] has distanced himself from his European counterparts, saying that while the proposal is acceptable, the council will need the support of the US in order to be acceptable. Reuters has more.

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