This is Steve Ember with the VOA Special English program, IN THENEWS.
|Delegatesobserve a moment of silence at the opening of the fifty-sixthGeneral Assembly meeting, September 12, 2001.|
The General Assembly of the UnitedNations will officially open its fifty-seventh meeting on Tuesday.Representatives from around the world will attend the yearly meetingat U-N headquarters in New York City. The meeting usually lastsabout three months.
The United Nations was created after World War Two. It wasestablished by fifty-one countries in October, Nineteen-Forty-Five.It was formed to strengthen international peace and security and tohelp settle conflicts among nations. Now, almost every nation in theworld belongs to the U-N General Assembly. Each member nation hasone vote in the Assembly. Jan Kavan of the Czech Republic is thecurrent General Assembly president. Mister Kavan was elected inJuly. He replaces Han Seung-soo of South Korea.
On Wednesday, U-N officials plan to attend ceremonies honoringthose killed last year in the September eleventh terrorist attacks.Many diplomats experienced shock after terrorists hijacked twoairplanes and crashed them into the World Trade Center buildings inNew York. Last year, the General Assembly meeting was to begin onSeptember eleventh. Because of the attacks, the U-N headquarters wasforced to close.
Leaders of many nations speak to the General Assembly during thefirst weeks of the meeting. President Bush will speak on Thursday.He is expected to call for action against Iraqi leader SaddamHussein.
The President says Iraq has failed to act on internationalagreements to stop developing biological, chemical or nuclearweapons. He says the Iraqi leader could help terrorists get suchweapons. Mister Bush wants Saddam Hussein removed from power.
Leaders of many countries oppose military action against Iraq.Earlier this week, Arab League foreign ministers declared supportfor restarting the U-N arms inspection program in Iraq. But theyrejected the use of military force.
A major goal of the U-N is to help prevent conflicts and endwars. General Assembly members will discuss situations of tensionand fighting in many areas of the world.
The U-N provides peacekeeping forces that have been deployedaround the world. It also holds international meetings on importantissues. For example, the U-N World Summit on Sustainable Developmentended this week in Johannesburg, South Africa. Delegates agreed on aplan designed to protect the environment and help poor people indeveloping countries. However, many activists are unhappy with theagreement.
Such disputes at U-N organizations and meetings are not unusual.Neither are criticisms of the international organization. Somepeople say the U-N is weak. Yet others say the United Nations isextremely important for world peace.
This VOA Special English program, IN THE NEWS, was written byGeorge Grow. This is Steve Ember.