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U.N. Creates New Position

December 20, 1997

UNITED NATIONS (AP) _ The U.N. General Assembly created a new position Friday to help run the United Nations but deferred final decisions on other reform proposals until next year.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan is expected to name a woman to the new post of deputy secretary-general. Canada’s deputy defense minister, Louise Frechette, is considered the leading candidate.

Annan asked the General Assembly to authorize the post as part of a package of reform proposals he announced in July. Annan took office Jan. 1 after Washington vetoed a second term for his predecessor, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, claiming he was sluggish in pursuing reform.

In a resolution approved without a vote, the 185-member General Assembly also endorsed Annan’s proposals to transfer administrative savings to Third World development programs, establish a special fund for member states to make voluntary contributions to U.N. operations, and set up a conference of government ministers to consider changes in the U.N. Charter.

The General Assembly asked Annan to submit detailed proposals on those and other reform plans by the end of March for a debate later in 1998.

U.N. diplomats said the extra time would allow supporters of the Annan proposals to lobby with Third World delegations that have resisted them, fearing they would reduce economic and social programs.

The U.S. Congress has demanded far-reaching reforms before it will pay the estimated $1.5 billion the United Nations says Washington owes in arrears.

But the failure by Congress to authorize repayment of any arrears this year has embittered many delegations, some of whom believe that the United Nations should not submit to U.S. pressure so long as Washington holds back on its dues.

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