Beliefnet
Washington, Aug. 26 - The United States has placed an "unwelcome obstacle inthe path" of a 15-year plan to reduce global poverty by pushing the UnitedNations to scrap the goals at an upcoming summit, the top leader of theEpiscopal Church said.

Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold, who has worked with other Anglicanleaders to revive the 2000 U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), saidallowing poverty to fester would hurt the war on terrorism.

"One of the most stinging lessons of our time is that the roots ofterrorism and conflict most often can be found in those places where povertyand sickness abound and hope is lost," Griswold said in a statement.

The MDGs would, among other things, work to cut global poverty in halfby 2015, mandate primary school for all children and require countries tocontribute 0.7 percent of their gross national product in foreign aid.

The Washington Post and The New York Times reported Thursday that the U.S. wants to strike all references to the MDGs at a Sept. 14summit of world leaders at the United Nations.

New U.S. Ambassador John Bolton submitted 39 pages of proposedamendments that instead focus on internal U.N. reforms and global actionagainst terrorism. "Our hope is to have a strong consensus document for thehigh-level event," Bolton told reporters.

Griswold and other Anglican leaders -- most notably ArchbishopNjongonkuku Ndungane of Cape Town, South Africa -- say that 2005 is amake-or-break year for the U.N. goals, and describe action so far as poor.

"For the U.S. to now oppose that long-held target further undermines ournation's international credibility (and) weakens rather than strengthensglobal security," Griswold said.

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