Blair urges United Nations reform


Richard Moore

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Blair urges United Nations reform

Watch Blair's speech

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has called for the 
reform of the United Nations in a key foreign 
policy speech in the US.

He said the UN secretary general should be given 
greater powers to improve the organisation's 
ability to react to international crises.

Other institutions such as the World Bank and 
International Monetary Fund also needed to 
change, he added in his speech at Georgetown 

A spokesman for Kofi Annan said the UN chief welcomed Mr Blair's proposals.

Last month, developing countries of the UN voted 
to shelve management reforms drawn up by Mr Annan.

Not 'legitimate'

Iraq was also a key theme of Mr Blair's address, 
as he repeated his call for more support for the 
new government there.

The UK prime minister said the current make-up of 
the UN Security Council - with no permanent seats 
for Germany, Japan or India - could no longer be 
considered legitimate in the modern world.

It also needed representation from Latin American 
and African countries, he said.

The IMF and World Bank needed to change - and 
possibly merge - to enable them to react 
effectively to economic and humanitarian crises.

Mr Blair also called for the creation of a UN 
environment organisation commensurate with the 
importance the issue had on the international 

He said there was a "hopeless mismatch" between 
global challenges and the global institutions set 
up after World War II.

'Child of democracy'

Mr Blair's speech followed a news conference on 
Thursday in which both he and US President George 
W Bush acknowledged they had made major mistakes 
in Iraq.

Surely we must all accept this is a genuine attempt to run the face of liberty

Tony Blair

In his address on Friday, the UK leader 
acknowledged the invasion may have split the 
international community, but called on it now to 
support its burgeoning democracy.

Mr Blair, who held talks with new Iraqi Prime 
Minister Nouri Maliki in Baghdad this week, said 
the new government was "a child of democracy 
struggling to be born", and that "the 
international community are the midwives".

"You may not agree with the original decision, 
you may believe mistakes have been made, you may 
even think how can it be worth the sacrifice, but 
surely we must all accept this is a genuine 
attempt to run the race of liberty," he said.

In his wide-ranging speech, Mr Blair also:

   *  said Iran needed to change for the security 
of the wider world, although he emphasised "I am 
not saying we should impose change".

   *  said Hamas should drop its refusal to accept 
Israel so negotiations could begin on an 
agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, 
with a two-state solution to the conflict

   *  suggested an international uranium bank held 
by the UN's IAEA nuclear agency to supply fuel to 
all countries with a nuclear energy programme, 
removing the need for each to operate its own 
enrichment cycle

Mr Blair's address was the third in a series of 
key foreign policy speeches, but BBC 
correspondent Nick Childs questions how much 
weight it will carry, given his weakened 
political standing.

The current White House, despite the close 
relationship between Mr Bush and Mr Blair, 
remains wary of getting entangled in what it 
would see as too much multilateralism, our 
correspondent adds.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2006/05/26 17:59:22 GMT


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