June marks the sixtieth anniversary of the signing of the United Nations charter, when representatives from fifty countries gathered in San Francisco, California, to approve proposals for the creation of the international organization. The United States played a major role in the creation of the U-N, and today maintains a strong leadership role, working to ensure that the U-N remains viable and effective.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says that the 1945 meeting "marked the opening of an entirely new and unprecedented era in world history":
"The United States believes that a strong and vibrant United Nations is. . . .key to the success of our goals as a country and that's key to the success of the goals of peace and stability in the world. It's why the United States is a founding member of the United Nations and continues to support it at the levels that we do."
The charter states that the mission of the U-N is: "To save succeeding generations from the scourge of war. . . .to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights. . . .and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom."
In Sudan, Liberia, Haiti, and other nations, the U-N is working to bring security, stability, and humanitarian assistance to people in need. From Africa to the Caribbean to Asia, the U-N is helping to turn societies away from old conflicts, overcome persistent poverty, and fight H-I-V/AIDS and other diseases. But despite its many successes, Ms. Rice says, "There's no doubt in anyone's mind that the United Nation's needs reform":
"[U-N Secretary-General] Kofi Annan himself has talked about the need for management reform, for reform of the Secretariat, for reform of the various commissions of the United Nations. Let's be real, when you have a Commission on Human Rights and Sudan is on it, nobody can take it seriously."
"The United Nations is enormously important to American diplomacy and to the future of the world." But, says Secretary of State Rice, "it has to be a U-N that works and it has to be a U-N that is appropriate for the challenges of the 21st century."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States government.