Chapter Two

Magic of Multilateralism


United in name, but divided in reality: the United Nations hides differences, disputes and disparities behind words. Themes and issues may vary, ranging from the mundane to the exotic, but a good wordsmith can find consensual conclusions to the most contentious debates. The magic of words is as much at play in the United Nations as in literature. I witnessed this reality at every multilateral forum I was in, from the Commonwealth Summit in Lusaka in 1979 to the meeting of the board of governors of the IAEA in Vienna in 2004.

The first multilateral conference I ever attended was a fiasco for India. Mercifully, my contribution to it was nearly zero. The venue was Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, where a Commonwealth ...

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