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Annan wants India, Pakistan to cooperate in tackling terrorism

Thursday 28 April 2005, by BARUAH*Amit

Seeks list of experts to help draft Iraq Constitution

"Developing countries, which constitute the vast majority of U.N. members, should be able to decisively influence the global agenda in all its aspects."

NEW DELHI: India and Pakistan must cooperate in dealing with the menace of terrorism, the United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, said during a 30-minute meeting with the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, on Wednesday.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister said that Dr. Singh spoke at length about the need for U.N. reforms, the situation in South Asia and the recent visits of the Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao, and the Pakistani President, Pervez Musharraf, to India. "I applaud you for what you have achieved with your neighbours in a relatively short period of time," Mr. Annan was quoted as telling Dr. Singh.

Earlier, Mr. Annan, who also met the External Affairs Minister, Natwar Singh, said that over the past few months India had demonstrated its ability to rise to challenges both at home and in the region - from dealing with the devastation caused by the tsunami to advancing the dialogue with Pakistan and responding to the crisis in Nepal. India, he maintained, had understood that with growing economic and political power came a responsibility for the region and the world.

Speaking at a lunch hosted in honour of the Secretary-General, Mr. Natwar Singh said international challenges could only be addressed through a genuine multilateral approach with the U.N. at the centre.

He said: "It is important that the developing countries which constitute the vast majority of the membership should be able to decisively influence the global agenda in all its aspects. The General Assembly should be revitalised and strengthened to effectively guide the other organs of the Charter.

"The Security Council needs to be reformed and enlarged in both permanent and non-permanent categories to make it truly representative and reflect the current global realities. It should include both developed and developing countries. An enlarged Security Council in both permanent and non-permanent categories will not only enhance its authority and make it more representative but also contribute to wider acceptance of its decisions. ... In our judgement, there should be no discrimination between the current permanent members and the new permanent members.

"We agree with you that any reform of the U.N. will be incomplete without the reform of the U.N. Security Council. We have been discussing this issue for over a decade now. In our judgement, search for consensus should not become a vehicle for inaction or postponing action. We support your suggestion for a decision on this issue before the September summit." The External Affairs Ministry spokesman said that Nepal, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Iraq and the situation in West Asia also came up for discussion. On Iraq, Mr. Annan told Mr. Natwar Singh that the U.N. planned to increase its engagement in the political process.

Mr. Singh offered India’s help to draft a constitution for Iraq. Mr. Annan wanted a list of Indian constitutional experts, which India will now send to him.

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