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Czech Republic: UN Failures Due To Lack Of Common Will

Prague, 8 September 1997 (RFE/RL) -- Former German President Richard Von Weizsaecker Saturday said a failure of common will by member countries has contributed to the declining effectiveness of the United Nations.

Weizsaecker said recent U.N. peacekeeping problems in Bosnia and Cambodia are not a failure of the United Nations but are due to a lack of a common will by the U.N.'s most important members.

Weizaecker called for reform, saying today's United Nations is outmoded and its member countries are either unwilling or unable to cooperate.

His comments came during an address to the Forum 2000 Conference in Prague and at a news conference afterward.

In his address, Weizsaecker singled out the United States for criticism because of its failure to pay U.N. dues in a timely fashion. He called on the United States to make a firm commitment to the United Nations.

He said the United Nations cannot reform under its existing structure, in which power is rooted in the Security Council and connected with military action. He said other U.N. bodies with a non-military focus should be given greater power.

Weizsaecker said he did not oppose adding Germany and Japan as permanent members of the Security Council but said it would not solve the organization's problems.

He expressed skepticism about including "two more of those so-called seven leading economic powers in the world while we have to meet with the dangers for the security of the majority of the population of the world."

Weizsaecker was president of Germany from 1984 to 1994, helping to oversee his country's reunification. He also frequently called on Germans to reflect on World War II war crimes.