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Summit endorses watered-down UN reform
Updated: 2005-09-17 11:43

"We in Indonesia believe that interfaith dialogue and empowering the moderates can reduce radicalism," said the leader of the world's most populous Muslim nation.

That message was echoed by Jordan's King Abdullah II who made an impassioned plea for "zero tolerance" toward those who promote Islamic extremism.

"Jordan wants true, moderate, traditional Islam to replace fundamentalist, radical and militant Islam, everywhere in the world, for every single Muslim," Abdullah said.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard noted that the pervasive shadow of terrorism had become "a grim but inescapable fact" and voiced disappointment that the reform document, adopted by the General Assembly on Tuesday, had fallen short in addressing the terrorist threat.

The text of the document failed to establish an agreed definition of terrorism and left out a chapter on disarmament altogether -- an omission branded a "real disgrace" by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

"There has been understandable criticism at the lack of language on disarmament and non-proliferation, particularly given the risk of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to terrorists," Howard said.

Terrorism was put at the top of the summit's agenda from the very first day with Annan's opening speech and then by US President George W. Bush.

"The terrorists must know the world stands united against them," Bush said. "The lesson is clear, there can be no safety in looking away or seeking the quiet life by ignoring the hardship and oppression of others."

The most impassioned plea came Thursday from Iraqi President Jalal Talabani who said his country was in desperate need of help to confront terrorist "forces of darkness."

Annan opened the three-day summit with a frank assessment of the UN reform document.

"We have not yet achieved the sweeping and fundamental reform that I and many others believe is required," Annan said.

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