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Calls for Change Mark 60th Anniversary of United Nations

I’m Gwen Outen with the VOA Special English Development Report.

The United Nations was created on June twenty-sixth, nineteen forty-five. Representatives from fifty countries signed charter documents in San Francisco, California. Four months later, the U.N. officially came to exist, after a majority of those countries approved the charter.

The United Nations Association of San Francisco organized events to mark the sixtieth anniversary. Organizers invited many former world leaders. They also invited President Bush or a high-level representative. The administration chose Sichan Siv, the American representative on the U.N. Economic and Social Council.

The anniversary comes as the United Nations faces calls for reforms. The organization is criticized for its supervision of the Iraq oil-for-food program, for sex crimes by U.N. peacekeepers and for other reasons.

On June twenty-second the United States proposed a reform plan to the U.N. General Assembly. The plan includes more seats for the Security Council. The United States says it supports "two or so" new permanent members, including Japan, and two or three more non-permanent seats.

Japan, Brazil, India and Germany have jointly proposed their own expansion plan. It would include them as permanent members, along with two African nations. China rejects a permanent seat for Japan.

Other reform proposals being discussed include replacing the U.N. human rights commission with a smaller council. It would exclude countries with poor human rights records.

In March, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan offered his own reform plan. He proposed expanding the Security Council and creating a new human rights council. His plan also includes ideas for defining terrorism, and new rules on when to use military force. World leaders are to consider the proposals in New York in September.

In Washington, Senate Democrats have delayed a vote on President Bush's nominee for U.N. ambassador. They say John Bolton is wrong for the job. He has strongly criticized the United Nations.

In the House of Representatives, lawmakers recently passed a Republican bill to pressure the United Nations. The bill calls for the United States to make only half its U.N. payments unless there are reforms by two thousand seven. The Bush administration opposes that bill.

This VOA Special English Development Report was written by Jill Moss. Our reports are on the Web at voaspecialenglish. I'm Gwen Outen.