At the end of a three-day summit, the leaders on Friday adopted a 35-page document by consensus after Venezuela made a formal reservation. When Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson banged the gavel signifying approval, the leaders burst into applause.
The summit's approval of a modest document, which commits governments to achieving U.N. goals to combat poverty and creates a commission to help move countries from war to peace, came alongside important developments in other areas.
"After a week of acrimonious negotiations, the U.S. agreed to a final statement on terror, poverty and human rights," said CBS News Foreign Affairs Analyst Pamela Falk from the U.N., "but the real agendas were negotiated behind closed doors, including possible sanctions on Iran for uranium enrichment programs, the future of Iraq, the Haitian elections in November and who will be the next Secretary General after Kofi Annan's term ends in late 2006."
"The advantage of having all the Heads of State in a three-day summit in this General Assembly session was a great advantage over previous U.N. meetings," said Falk, "because of the ability to have so many bilateral meetings."
Meetings on the sidelines of the summit marking the United Nations' 60th anniversary produced rare Arab-Israeli contacts, further talks on Iran's nuclear ambitions and a new treaty by dozens of countries aimed at preventing nuclear terrorism.
U.S. President George W. Bush, who two years ago questioned whether the United Nations was relevant, surprised many by giving the world body his strong backing. He also won praise for declaring that poverty breeds terrorism and despair and challenging world leaders to abolish all trade tariffs and subsidies to promote prosperity and opportunity in struggling nations.
The summit brought presidents, prime ministers and kings from 151 of the 191 U.N. member states to the United Nations — a record number according to U.N. officials. Leaders from the most powerful nations hobnobbed with those from tiny Pacific island states like Tuvalu, and the key phrase was one-on-one "face time."