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In the last fifteen years, many civil wars have come to an end, but peace has often proved too fragile and has left the way open for new conflict, sometimes more violent and destructive than the first. The United Nations, which in most cases has been assigned with the responsibility for maintaining peace, questions the motives for this failure and the Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, has drawn up a package of proposals as part of a broader reform of the Organisation which might serve as a remedy. It is now up to member countries, which will meet in a summit in New York next September, to launch and enact this reform. Here the author examines Annan’s proposals in terms of contrasting national interests.