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A Progress Report on UN Reform

Recorded on March 28, 2006

Location: The Heritage Foundation's Allison Auditorium

Message from Senator Jesse Helms...

Thank you to The Heritage Foundation and the Better World Campaign for hosting the Jesse Helms International Diplomacy Lecture. Thanks also to all of you who have made time in your schedules for this event, and I particularly applaud Senator Coleman for his willingness to speak this evening....

When it was my privilege to be Chairman of the Senator Foreign Relations Committee, we initiated and passed bipartisan legislation to strengthen the U.S. relationship with the United Nations by requiring critical reforms at the UN. In return, the U.S. agreed to meet its obligations to pay dues in full. We did that because an effective United Nations can be a vital foreign policy tool of the United States. I have often said that if the United Nations did not exist, something very similar would have to be created as a place for countries to resolve their differences and work together to address the world's pressing problems.

Since it founding 60 years ago the UN has evolved and expanded in ways that no one foresaw in its earliest years. A meeting place in New York for international leaders has become the operational hub for extensive humanitarian, development, and peacekeeping operations all over the world. This growth has been accompanied by significant operational challenges and management failures that have been well documented in the press and in oversight reports.

There is a benefit in this bad news. These current problems in management and oversight also provide a rare opportunity to accomplish significant reforms to further strengthen the United Nations and its ability to help nations meet the global challenges ahead.

Senator Coleman has made it his business to become an expert on the issue of UN reform, and I want to thank him for his determined and skillful efforts to call attention to the urgent need for change. The U.S. Congress, in concert with the Administration, must play a constructive and productive role in UN reform efforts. These efforts are an important part of advancing the national security interest of our great nation.

With our leadership in seeing that plans for change become policies for improvement, the United Nations can become an organization whose headquarters we are proud to host -- and whose work we are proud to support.