Swedish PM’s network to lead UN reforms

Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson, who co-chaired a recent UN summit in New York, said on Wednesday he had created a network of world leaders to help implement the reforms agreed by the world body.

Persson told parliament that he had already invited the heads of government or state of 13 reform-minded countries to take part in his network, which would begin work immediately.

The countries are Argentina, Britain, Canada, Egypt, Gabon, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey and Ukraine, Persson said in a statement read out in parliament.

“They should be prepared to influence their region, to pick up the phone and tell a colleague that the talks are bogging down in New York and that we would really appreciate if you could be more constructive,” Persson told Swedish news agency TT.

His initiative is seen as a Swedish UN offensive just days after Swedish diplomat Jan Eliasson took over the presidency of the United Nations General Assembly’s 60th session.

At the UN summit earlier this week, 170 world leaders endorsed a watered-down document on UN reform.

The 35-page document denounced terrorism in all forms, promoted development, backed reform of UN management, called for establishment of a peace-building commission and a more effective human rights council.

But critics said it was vague on many key points and left out crucial issues such as disarmament altogether, reflecting persistent divisions within the world body between rich and poor nations.


Can Göran Persson save the UN? Discuss!