LONDON, May 29 (Xinhua) -- Former UN chief Kofi Annan and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter on Thursday expressed their support for reforming the United Nations, emphasizing equal respect for all countries' views and a greater role of the General Assembly in the international body.
"The world has changed and the UN must change along with it. The UN Security Council has to be reformed," Annan said at a panel discussion at Oxford University with some former world leaders from the Elders, an independent group of former senior world leaders who work together for peace and human rights.
"Whether or not a country has veto power in the UN Security Council, its views must be respected," he added.
Carter also voiced his support for the UN reform, proposing an increase of the authority of the UN General Assembly.
He said that a good example of the value of the UN General Assembly was when it voted to recognize Palestine as a non-member observer state.
In 2012, the UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to grant an upgrade of Palestine's status from "entity" to "non-member state", an implicit and symbolic recognition of Palestine's statehood at the UN.
After that, the Palestinians became eligible to sign more than 60 international treaties, conventions and protocols and became members of international institutions such as the International Criminal Court.
Annan and Carter were joined by former President of Ireland Mary Robinson in the panel discussion, focusing on 21st century peace building, conflict resolution, good governance and women's role in world politics.
Annan also said he wanted to encourage more frank discussions between leaders and their citizens, adding that good governance with transparency and accountability is essential to prevent injustice and mediate disputes peacefully.
The Elders, brought together in 2007 by Nelson Mandela and now chaired by Annan, are in regular contact with each other, and meet twice a year to review their activities, discuss current priorities and plan their upcoming work.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu served for six years as chair before stepping down in May 2013, and remains an Honorary Elder.