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UN Radio: Annan Says U.S. Must Attend Iraq Meeting


UN Radio: Annan Says U.S. Must Attend Iraq Meeting

  • Click here to listen to this UN Radio report (real player)
  • Click here to listen to this UN Radio report (mp3)
  • Special Report: UNHCR Prepares to Repatriate Sudanese Refugees from Neighbouring Countries
  • Senior US and Iraqi Officials to Attend Meeting at UN Later this Month

    Secretary-General Kofi Annan says he expects senior United States officials to attend a three-way meeting on Iraq with the interim Iraqi Governing Council later this month. The meeting is to discuss humanitarian programmes and the democratic process in the occupied country. The Secretary-General told reporters Tuesday that he is looking forward to a very good and constructive meeting on January 19th and expects all parties to attend. The Secretary-General was asked whether he wanted a statement from the meeting clarifying the role of the UN.

    "I would want to see the UN's role clarified during the transitional period. I am not so much worried about the UN's role in phase two - phase two being post provisional government."

    The Secretary-General said the question of security is still very much an issue in Iraq.

    Security Council Welcomes New Afghan Constitution

    Members of the Security Council have welcomed the new constitution agreed to by Afghanistan's constitutional loya jirga. Council President Ambassador Heraldo Munoz of Chile says the members hail this as a very significant step on the path towards a peaceful, prosperous and democratic Afghanistan that respects the rights of all Afghan citizens.

    "It also provides a platform to sustain the Bonn peace process conducted under the auspices of the United Nations which in its final stage will culminate in national elections later this year. To this end they emphasize the need to create a secure environment and deplored the recent acts of violence in Afghanistan."

    UN Office in Kandahar Comes Under Grenade Attack

    Unidentified gunmen opened fire and hurled a grenade at a United Nations office in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar. There have been no reports of casualties. A spokesman for the UN refugee agency said there were no UN staff inside the building at the time of the attack. He said there was little damage to the building and police and coalition forces were quickly on the scene to secure the area.

    WHO Seeks Solutions to Achieve Millennium Development Goals

    Innovative actions are needed to achieve the health-related Millennium Development Goals. That's the assessment of the World Health Organization. And the agency plans a high-level forum later this week in Geneva to gauge just how far the world has progressed towards the goals in the three years since the Millennium Summit. WHO spokesman Iain Simpson says current trends show that unless some serious work is done and action taken, the goals won't be met for a long time after the 2015 deadline.

    "So what we are doing is bringing together donor countries as well as developing countries to really try and hash out some of the details of some serious programme work that can lead to the meeting of the millennium development goals."

    Six of the Millennium Development Goals are related to health and nutrition. They include halving the proportion of people suffering from hunger; reducing child mortality by two-thirds and maternal mortality by three-quarters, combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other infectious diseases, and improving access to safe drinking water and essential drugs.

    UNHCR Preparing for Jan 15 Relocation of Sudanese Refugees

    More than 30-thousand refugees have fled fighting in Sudan's western Darfur region into neighbouring eastern Chad over the past four weeks. And the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), estimates that close to 100-thousand refugees have crossed the border. Spokesman Ron Redmond says UNHCR emergency staff in eastern Chad are now preparing for what he describes as "the logistically difficult relocation operation", as the Sudanese refugees are scattered in dozens of makeshift settlements along the remote border between the two countries.

    "They are subjected to periodic raids by bandits and marauding militias from across the border and many are in dire need of assistance. This makes it all the more urgent that a UNHCR relocation operation aimed a moving them to safer sites further inland begins as soon as possible."

    Redmond says UNHCR and its partners are carrying out an emergency distribution of food and non-food items to some of the most vulnerable refugees still camped along the insecure border.

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