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Wednesday, 6 September, 2000, 12:40 GMT 13:40 UK
New Yorkers brave UN summit
Policeman checks a Buddhist monk outside UN headquarters
Tight security has made the UN headquarters virtually inaccessible
With more than 150 heads of state descending on New York for the United Nations summit, life for the average New Yorker has suddenly become more difficult.

Tight security has made areas around the UN headquarters virtually inaccessible, and the movements of various leaders has spread the chaos to the other parts of city too.

Summit stats
150 heads of state attending
1,300 limousines ferrying delegates
6,000 extra policemen brought in
$10m security and traffic control tab
An estimated 1,300 limousines are ferrying the delegations to the UN headquarters and to their other engagements around New York.

To complicate the matters, political and human rights groups are planning numerous demonstrations over the three days that the summit will continue.


The demonstrations started on Tuesday evening, with protesters chanting slogans against Cuban leader Fidel Castro and Iranian leader Mohammed Khatami.

The two leaders, along with Jiang Zemin of China, are reported to be a favourite target of human rights lawyers too.

According to the UK's daily telegraph newspaper, these lawyers are planning to make history by having them arrested for alleged human rights abuses in their country.

Li Peng
Li Peng was served a summons by US court last week
The inspiration comes from the arrest of former Chilean ruler General Augusto Pinochet who was detained in the United Kingdom after arriving in the country for medical attention.

He only returned to Chile after lengthy legal arguments.

A similar scenario confronted Chinese Prime Minister Li Peng. A summons was served on him while he was in New York last week.

A Manhattan judge ordered Mr Peng to appear before his court to answer charges in relation to the student demonstrations at Tiananmen Square in 1989.

Though Mr Peng did not respond to the summons, a US judge ruled that it is still valid and could pose problems the next time Mr Peng visits United States.

However, the United States would be eager to avoid any diplomatic confrontation during the summit.


Preparations to ensure that the world leaders have a comfortable stay in New York have been continuing for months.

New York policeman
New York is spending $10m on UN-related security
At the Waldorf-Astoria hotel, where 30 leaders including President Bill Clinton and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe are staying, technicians have installed a telephone network that includes four miles of cable, high-tech gadgets and satellite links.

At the United Nations Plaza, which is hosting Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and President Khatami, tight security has been arranged.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Mr Castro have chosen to stay at their respective country's mission, while Israeli President Ehud Barak is staying at the Park Lane Hotel.

New York is said to be spending about $10m on the security and traffic control operations during the summit.

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See also:

05 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
US regrets 'insult' to North Korea
06 Sep 00 | Middle East
Iranian head's speech attracts Albright
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