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U.N. Millennium Peace Summit a Logistical Nightmare in New YorkAired September 5, 2000 - 2:06 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: President Clinton will deliver the opening address at this week's United Nations World Millennium Peace Summit in New York. Mr. Clinton is expected to promote his diplomatic agenda for his final months in office. During the summit, the president likely is to stress a restart of the stalled Middle East peace process. Mr. Clinton is scheduled to hold private meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Barak and the Palestinian Authority president, Yasser Arafat.
The summit is being billed as the largest gathering ever of world leaders, and it's proving to be a logistical nightmare for U.N. organizers, New York City officials and the folks who live in New York.
Here's CNN's Frank Buckley.
FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The summit is taking place in a city where traffic gridlock can turn a couple of miles into an infuriating half hour. And the presence of an unheard of number of motorcades going to the same place at the same time promises to make Manhattan extremely undesirable for drivers who aren't in motorcades.
BERNARD KERIK, NEW YORK POLICE COMMISSIONER: There will be about 170 motorcades involving 1,300 vehicles.
BUCKLEY: Demonstrations surrounding the Millennium Summit could make it even worse. At least 91 separate protests are planned. New Yorkers are being warned to avoid the east side of Manhattan and to expect major delays.
But the mayor of New York, who has previously complained about diplomats using immunity to get out of parking tickets, joked the summit presents an opportunity.
MAYOR RUDY GIULIANI (R), NEW YORK: We thought of using this whole thing as a sting operation to collect parking tickets, but then we thought that that would be in very bad taste.
BUCKLEY: The city is serious in its security preparations. Barriers are up around the U.N. and hotels playing host to world leaders. Up to 6,000 police officers of the city's 41,000-member police force will be deployed for the summit at one time. Inside the summit, security considerations have resulted in the moving of some meetings from the elegant, economic and social chamber to smaller conference rooms in the basement, some diplomats taking it in stride.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It doesn't matter if we're downstairs. It's who else is there, what's being said, how they interact.
BUCKLEY: But there are other headaches for the hosts, juggling delicate questions like, who speaks first? Who sits by whom? And how long can each leader speak? It's enough to make the most diplomatic of spokesmen, the U.N.'s Fred Eckhard, describe things in less than diplomatic terms.
FRED ECKHARD, U.N. SPOKESMAN: It's going to be the week from hell.
BUCKLEY (on camera): A week in which more than 150 heads of state and heads of government will gather together, creating inconvenience for some of New York's 8 million citizens, while aspiring to make the world a better place for the globe's 6 billion citizens.
Frank Buckley, CNN, United Nations.
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