GUADALAJARA, Mexico -- Leaders of almost 60 European, Latin American, and Caribbean nations said yesterday they want the United Nations to remain the premier organization to resolve international conflicts, and they called for a UN overhaul to make that possible.
Although it did not specifically mention the United States, it was clear the summit's draft document was critical of Washington's foreign policy and the allegations of torture and abuse of prisoners in Iraq. The meeting was a signal to the Bush administration to shed its go-it-alone tendency and return to the UN fold.
As they opened the one-day summit, leaders called for making the United Nations more effective and sparing it the embarrassment of being sidelined, as happened last year when the United States invaded Iraq without UN backing.
''We all recall that 2003 was a difficult year," said Prime Minister Bertie Ahern of Ireland, speaking on behalf of the 25-nation European Union. He said the US decision to invade Iraq showed the United Nations to be ''unable to deal with hard questions of peace and security and unable, therefore, to command confidence."
Ahern, whose country holds the EU presidency, said no country can act alone.
''Peace and justice can best be guaranteed by states working together," he told the summit's opening session. ''Only by working together can terrorism conditions, which can sometimes rise to terrorism, be addressed."
Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero of Spain, speaking of an increasingly ''fractured world," urged Europe and Latin America to make a ''common front" in pushing for a stronger UN role. President Vicente Fox of Mexico, the summit's host, called for a new international order by making far-reaching changes in the way the United Nations runs its affairs.