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UN Changes Phrase In 75th Anniversary Draft After India, Five Eyes Nations Object

UN General Assembly President changed a phrase in the draft declaration to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations after six nations objected.

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UN General Assembly President Tijjani Muhammad-Bande changed a phrase in the draft declaration to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations after India and “five eyes” members objected to the sentence. The UK acting ambassador Jonathan Allen broke the “silence” procedure by registering an official objection on behalf of the UK, US, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and India.

The six countries objected to one phrase towards the end of the declaration that read, “to realise our shared vision for a common future”, and wanted it to be replaced with, “to realize our shared vision for a better future as envisaged in the preamble of the UN Charter”.

The United Nations Association - UK said in a statement that the reason behind the objection, cited by a number of sources, was the phrase being similar to the wording used by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to describe its foreign policy aspirations. The phrase was used in a report by former Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Hu Jintao in 2012.

“Thus, the language needs to be viewed in the context of the current great power rivalry between the USA and China, with the UK firmly allying with the US,” said the leading policy authority.

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Compromise wording

UNA - UK said that the phrase itself is much older, and has been ubiquitous in UN documents for many decades. It was present in speeches by the last several Secretaries-General and even the resolution establishing this process last year which the UK supported. However, after extensive consultation, Muhammad-Bande proposed a re-worked phrase to substitute the sentence on which silence was broken. 

"We will work together with partners to strengthen coordination and global governance for the common future of present and coming generations,” the new phrase proposed by the UNGA President read.

On June 27, no state made any objection to the compromised wording and thus the silence procedure has been completed, meaning the declaration can now be adopted. However, the President of the General Assembly has "been notified of an issue regarding a particular element of the final draft Declaration, which would require further clarification in order to conclude the process".

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