World leaders obey orders for group photo

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UNITED NATIONS (Oct 22, 1995)- For once, the men and handful of women who run the world did as they were told Sunday when they posed for a group photograph at history's largest gathering of world leaders.

"Move a foot to the right please," said the official photographer for the United Nations's 50th anniversary celebration and leaders like Cuba's Fidel Castro and President Clinton shuffled dutifully sideways with some 130 leaders lined up in a ground floor meeting room at U.N. headquarters.

Heads of state and government, ministers and dignitaries stood more than five rows deep, most in business suits but some in colourful national costumes.

South Africa's Nelson Mandela wore a gaily coloured shirt, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, standing just two places away from his partner in peace, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, sported his trade-mark 'keffiyeh' chequered headdress.

Castro, who had eschewed his familiar combat fatigues for a dark suit, stood sandwiched between the Czech Republic's playwright-turned-statesman Vaclav Havel and Costa Rica's President Jose Maria Figueres.

In the front rank, Clinton chatted animatedly with U.N. Secretary General Boutros Boutros Ghali and China's President Jiang Zemin, who stood next to Monaco's Prince Ranier.

Argentina's President Carlos Menem worked the crowd like an election meeting, shaking hands first with Castro and then with Clinton. Russia's Boris Yeltsin muttered asides to France's President Jacques Chirac.

The photographer, Paul Skipworth of Eastman Kodak, was impressed at the obedience as he gave his orders to "move right," "move left" and "take your name cards off please."

"I am going to take four or five pictures because I don't know when we will get all of you together in the same room again," he said.

The leaders stood still and many smiled as their picture was taken and they left to enter the cavernous General Assembly chamber to hear Boutros-Ghali welcome them and warn them the United Nations was in a financial crisis.

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