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UN Radio: Team to Iraq To Assist Transition

UN Radio: Team to Iraq To Assist Transition

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  • Special report: Secretary-General Says UN Team is Leaving Soon for Iraq
  • Special Report: On the 2nd Anniversary of Independence, Timor-Leste Foreign Minister Applauds the UN Achievements
  • UN to Send Team to Iraq to Help in Political Transition

    The United Nations is sending a team to Iraq to determine whether elections are possible between now and the end of May. According to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the team will also seek to determine if the UN can refine the caucus system or come up with any other option that would be acceptable to the Iraqis:

    "We will be open and talk to as many Iraqis as possible to try and get to understand what it is they are worried about and perhaps try and work with them to get a consensus amongst themselves as to what mechanism would be best for the establishment of a provisional government."

    Mr. Annan feels that if the UN can get the Iraqis to agree on that it would be easier to move to the next phase. His comments were made to reporters on arrival at UN headquarters Wednesday following discussions with United States administration officials at the White House on Tuesday.

    Tension on Border between Eritrea and Ethiopia: Legwaila

    The tensions being experienced over the Ethiopia-Eritrea border dispute are dangerous. That assessment comes from the head of the UN mission monitoring the border Legwaila Joseph Legwaila. He says the situation is especially dangerous in the sense that the two countries fought a terrible war three years ago that killed more than 100-thousand people:

    "So this stalemate is concerning us a great deal but there is no sign on the ground that in the immediate future there will be a re-ignition of the war that Ethiopia and Eritrea fought."

    Mr. Legwaila says the forces of the two sides remain separated and respectful of the temporary security zone which the UN is monitoring.

    Security Council Extends Mandate of Current UN Mission in Cote d'Ivoire

    The Security Council has decided to renew the mandate of the current UN mission in Cote d'Ivoire until 27 February. All members of the Council also voted to renew UN backing for the French and African troops monitoring a ceasefire between government forces and rebels who launched an uprising in September 2002. The Council called on the Secretary-General to prepare the deployment of a possible peacekeeping operation within the next five weeks. The Secretary-General has already recommended a force of more than six thousand troops.

    UN Seeking $500 Million for Liberia's Post-War Reconstruction

    International donors meet at UN headquarters Thursday for a 2-day meeting which hopes to raise as much as $500 million to rebuild Liberia.
    The International Reconstruction Conference on Liberia is to bring together officials from international lending institutions and donor countries to discuss aid efforts for the West African nation which has just emerged from a 14-year civil war that destabilized the entire sub-region.
    Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in response to reporters' questions, says the international community has an obligation to help Liberia pick itself up:

    "And it is one thing to go in and deploy peacekeepers and say we are giving them a hand and we are going to disarm all these soldiers, including child soldiers. But if you do not disarm and re-integrate them into society, if you do not give them prospects for making a decent living, if you do not help recovery and reconstruction, you are not really going to be able to succeed."

    Liberia is facing its first chance of genuine peace since 1989.

    UN Rights Expert Appeals for Return of Kidnapped Staff

    The UN human rights expert on Somalia on Wednesday appealed for the release of a UN international worker abducted in the country last week. Ghanim Alnajjar says such an action represents an infringement of the rights to life, liberty and security. He says the international humanitarian aid community must be allowed to work toward the protection and promotion of all human rights in Somalia. The UN worker, Rolf Helmrich of Germany, was kidnapped north of Kismayo in the Lower Juba region of Somalia on January 29.

    WHO and FAO Say Bird Flu in Asian Countries is Spreading

    The world's food and health experts discussing a global strategy to contain the bird flu outbreak in many Asian countries warned Wednesday that the epidemic is causing a crisis despite many counter measures taken so far. The experts from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization expressed their concern in a statement issued at the end of a two-day meeting in Rome. FAO said it plans to send its epidemiologists to China where the disease shows signs of steadily spreading in recent weeks.

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