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Annan urges overhaul of U.N.

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UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has urged world leaders to adopt a wide-ranging change in the agency.

In a speech to the general assembly on Monday, Annan urged countries to adopt his entire reform package at a summit of world leaders in September.

Annan's proposals include a recommendation to expand the 15-member Security Council to 24 to make it more representative of the whole world and the "geopolitical realities of today."

Asked at a news conference how he believed the United States would respond to the report, Annan said he hoped all would find its suggestions in their interests.

"I think there are many things in the report that should please many states including the United States," he said.

"You have to understand that we have 191 member states and I was dealing with the problems of all regions."

His report asks member countries to consider two models for change.

Under the first model, there would be six new permanent seats, two from Africa, two from Asia, one in Europe and one in the Americas, but they would have no veto rights.

There would also be three new non-permanent seats lasting for two-year terms.

Presently, the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China hold permanent seats.

Under the second model, there would be no new permanent seats, but instead a new category of eight seats serving for four years.

There would be two each from Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas, and one non-permanent seat divided among the regions.

"Two years ago, I declared that in my view no reform of the United Nations would be complete without reform of the Security Council. That is still my belief," Annan argues.

The report also proposes strengthening its human rights mechanisms.

"If the United Nations is to meet the expectations of men and women everywhere -- and indeed, if the organization is to take the cause of human rights as seriously as those of security and development -- then member states should agree to replace the Commission on Human Rights with a small standing Human Rights Council."

The report calls for a "zero tolerance" regarding sexual exploitation by U.N. peacekeepers. (Full story)

"I am especially troubled by instances in which U.N. peacekeepers are alleged to have sexually exploited minors and other vulnerable people," Annan says.

The United Nations has also come under criticism for its handling of the Iraqi oil-for-food program. (Full story)

And the report calls for the endorsement of a "package of management reforms that the secretary-general is undertaking to improve accountability, transparency and efficiency within the secretariat."

The report urges the "commissioning" of a "comprehensive review of the Office of Internal Oversight Services with a view to strengthening its independence and authority, as well as its expertise and capacity."

The report also calls for:

  • a comprehensive convention on terrorism;
  • guidelines to halt nuclear proliferation;
  • creation of a unit to help countries recover from war;
  • recognizing the special needs of Africa;
  • ensuring the establishment of timetables in the developing world for development assistance;
  • generating global action "to mitigate climate change," and;
  • pursuing the establishment of a worldwide early warning system for natural disasters.

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