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

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

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

The MDGs would, among other things, work to cut global poverty in half by 2015, mandate primary school for all children and require countries to contribute 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. 14 summit of world leaders at the United Nations.

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

Griswold and other Anglican leaders -- most notably Archbishop Njongonkuku Ndungane of Cape Town, South Africa -- say that 2005 is a make-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 our nation's international credibility (and) weakens rather than strengthens global security," Griswold said.

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