MUNICH, Feb 13: UN Secretary General Kofi Annan called on Sunday on Europe and the United States to devise new ways of adapting collective security solutions for a world transformed by new threats.
"Our global security environment has been transformed and our global collective security system, including the United Nations, must be transformed too," Annan said on the final day of a gathering of defence ministers and experts in the German city of Munich.
Annan said support for a blueprint for a wide-ranging review of the UN he will present next month would recommend tougher rules to prevent nuclear proliferation and a better approach to fight terrorism.
His call for Europe and the United States "to think ahead, and to help plant the seeds of long-term global collective security" summed up the underlying theme of the annual conference.
Annan warned of a "cascade" of nuclear proliferation unless the stronger checks suggested by a panel of experts were introduced and said the world must adapt to threats that can appear "literally from a clear blue sky".
The annual conference was dominated by the relationship between the United States and Europe, which is still being strained by Iraq, and particularly that between the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union's developing security capability.
US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told the conference on Saturday that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) remained important but fighting global terrorism had to involve more countries than the 26 Alliance members.
"By now it must be clear that one nation cannot defeat the extremists alone," Rumsfeld said. German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder caused controversy with his suggestion to set up an independent panel of experts to try to revitalize NATO.
His Foreign Minister, Joschka Fischer, on Sunday dismissed suggestions that Schroeder was effectively sounding the death knell for the Alliance. "He does not want to undermine NATO but strengthen it," Fischer said.
"The transatlantic link is the backbone of the new world order of the 21st century." Annan meanwhile told the conference that "the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty has helped prevent a cascade of nuclear proliferation. "But unless new steps are taken now, we might face such a cascade very soon," he said, without any direct reference to the nuclear stand offs in Iran and North Korea.
Fischer, however, said that if Iran restarts nuclear enrichment, which could be used for weapons, it would be referred to the UN Security Council. Germany, France and Britain are trying to persuade Iran to use its nuclear programme for purely peaceful means.
Iranian deputy foreign minister Gholamali Khoshroo said an "unprecedented" number of international inspections in Iran had shown that the country only had peaceful objectives in its nuclear programme.
"Sometimes I am saying that maybe America is the only country that is unhappy that these results have come out," he said. Annan also said the world's ability to react to conflicts would be judged by its reaction to the Darfur conflict.
He called on NATO and the EU to commit urgently to keeping the peace in the Sudanese region where tens of thousands have died in fighting between government-backed militias and rebels. "People are dying, every single day, while we fail to protect them. Additional measures are urgently required," Annan said. -AFP
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