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Barack Obama will cement the new co-operative relationship between the US and the United Nations this month when he becomes the first American president to chair its 15-member Security Council.
Mr Obama will join other heads of government in New York during the week of the nuclear summit for the opening of the 64th session of the UN General Assembly. The annual meeting of world leaders is this year raising expectations on a number of fronts.
UN officials hope a climate change debate on September 22 will give fresh impetus to the search for a global climate deal at Copenhagen in December. There are also hopes a possible meeting between Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli prime minister, and Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority president, that Mr Obama would host, could lead to a breakthrough about a timetable for Middle East peace.
Imposition of a global tax on the United States. The bill, which has the support of many liberal religious groups, makes levels of U.S. foreign aid spending subservient to the dictates of the United Nations.
The U.N. says that "The commitment to provide 0.7% of gross national product (GNP) as official development assistance was first made 35 years ago in a General Assembly resolution, but it has been reaffirmed repeatedly over the years, including at the 2002 global Financing for Development conference in Monterrey, Mexico. However, in 2004, total aid from the industrialized countries totaled just $78.6 billion-or about 0.25% of their collective GNP."
In addition to seeking to eradicate poverty, that declaration commits nations to banning "small arms and light weapons" and ratifying a series of treaties, including the International Criminal Court Treaty, the Kyoto Protocol (global warming treaty), the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The Millennium Declaration also affirms the U.N. as "the indispensable common house of the entire human family, through which we will seek to realize our universal aspirations for peace, cooperation and development."
Jeffrey Sachs, who runs the U.N.'s "Millennium Project," says that the U.N. plan to force the U.S. to pay 0.7 percent of GNP in increased foreign aid spending would add $65 billion a year to what the U.S. already spends. Over a 13-year period, from 2002, when the U.N.'s Financing for Development conference was held, to the target year of 2015, when the U.S. is expected to meet the "Millennium Development Goals," this amounts to $845 billion. And the only way to raise that kind of money, Sachs has written, is through a global tax, preferably on carbon-emitting fossil fuels.
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