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announced that the United States would engage with the Council “only in matters of deep national interest.”76 According to the Administration, instead of focusing on human rights situations around the world, the Council “turned into a forum that seems to be almost solely focused on bashing Israel.” The official added that future U.S. participation will be “ad hoc.”77 The United States did run for a seat in the first three Council elections and is currently a Council observer with no voting rights.

Convention on Terrorism

The Administration supports the adoption of a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism as part of its U.N. reform platform. However, disagreement among U.N. member states regarding the definition of terrorism has delayed progress on the Convention. The United States agrees with Secretary-General Annan’s assertion in his 2005 report, In Larger Freedom, that “the right to resist occupation does not justify the targeting and killing of civilians.”78 Currently, a draft legal framework for the Convention is being considered by the Ad Hoc Committee established by General Assembly Resolution 51/210 of December 17, 1996, which met in February 2007.79


The Administration identifies economic development as a U.N. reform priority, and aims to build “healthy institutions and strong economies through trade, foreign investment, and aid,” with a focus on “supporting good governance and sound economic policies.”80 At the 2005 U.N. World Summit in New York, the United States joined other member states in agreeing to a $50 billion a year increase in funding (until 2010) to combat poverty, and supported assistance for anti-malaria initiatives, education, and healthcare. The Administration also reaffirmed its commitment to achieving the U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.

75 (...continued) Khalilzad on the Durban II Conference and the Human Rights Council,” April 8, 2008, available at [http://www.usunnewyork.usmission.gov/press_releases/20080408_075.html].

76 Daily Press Briefing, Sean McCormack, Spokesperson, U.S. Department of State, June 6, 2008, available at [http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpd/2008/jun/105716.htm].

77 Ibid. The State Department official also stated, “Part of our strategy is to take a look at any suggestions or thoughts we have to improve the performance of the Council. There’s a five-year review period, and that review period is going to fall outside the term of this Administration, but of course... we feel as stewards of the national interest, we are going to think about ways that might improve the function of the Council.”

78 “Statement by Ambassador Anne W. Patterson, Acting U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, on U.S. Proposals for U.N. Reform in the General Assembly,” U.S. Mission to the United Nations press release, June 22, 2005.

79 More information on the activities of the Ad Hoc Committee is available at [http://www.un.org/law/terrorism/index.html].

80 “U.S. Priorities for a Stronger, More Effective United Nations,” U.S. Department of State Fact Sheet, June 17, 2005.

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