Negotiators Reach Deal on U.N. Reform

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The 191-member U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday adopted a watered-down document for world leaders to approve at a U.N. summit, shedding many of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's (search) most ambitious goals after weeks of bitter debate.

The compromise 35-page document is supposed to galvanize global action to combat poverty and launch a major reform of the United Nations itself. But to reach a consensus, much of the most progressive language in the text was gutted.

A definition of terrorism and details on how to replace the discredited U.N. Commission on Human Rights (search) will not be included. U.S.-led efforts to overhaul U.N. management have been diluted, while nuclear nonproliferation likely won't be mentioned at all.

Even so, diplomats called the document a breakthrough after so much debate. Several were pleased with the creation of a peacebuilding commission and a long section on development. That includes a mention of the desire by "many developed countries" to spend 0.7 percent of their gross national product on development aid.

"Don't expect Rome to be built in a day, it wasn't," Britain's U.N. Ambassador Emyr Jones-Parry (search) said. "Against the difficulty of this negotiation, it's complexity, this is a very substantial gain."

Several nations were angry with the way the document was pushed through the General Assembly before it was translated from English into the five other official U.N. languages, a violation of U.N. protocol. That gave ambassadors little time to review it.

"This process is a clear violation of the most basic elements governing democratic processes," Venezuela's Foreign Minister Ali Rodriguez said from the floor after the vote.