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UN Radio: Iraq Elections Before June...

UN Radio: Iraq Elections Before June and more…

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  • UN Team in Iraq to Assess Possibility of Elections before June

    A United Nations team is in Iraq meeting with American and Iraqi officials to determine whether elections can be organized by June. The team, led by special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, arrived in Baghdad on the weekend to assess the feasibility of holding elections in time for a provisional government to take power from the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority by June 30th. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

    "The work of the team is going extremely well, they've met with the CPA, they have met with the Governing Council and they are meeting with individual members of the Iraqi Governing Council. As I indicated before they left they should see as broad a range of people as possible."

    Mr. Annan says the team, which would be in Iraq for about a week, would return to New York to finalise its report.

    WFP Warns of Serious Food Shortage for North Korea

    The World Food Programme has warned that it has run out of food in North Korea. WFP says that over six million people - a quarter of North Korea's population - will go without emergency food aid until new supplies arrive in April. The UN food agency says it can only feed about a hundred thousand of the most vulnerable people over the next two months. WFP's representative for North Korea, Masood Hyder, says the next two months are going to be very difficult.

    "There will be a real increase in suffering. For example for pregnant women who will give birth to low birth weight babies. Children in nurseries will have to cut back to two meals a day. The old on low pensions will not get any food. Beyond that the painstaking gains we have made in reversing malnutrition trends that will be lost."

    WFP has issued an urgent appeal for more aid.

    Donors Pledge more than $500 Million for Liberia

    More than $500 million have been promised by donors for the reconstruction of Liberia. The UN Development Programme (UNDP), which is co-ordinating Liberia's reconstruction says the two-day international donors' conference on Liberian reconstruction ended with pledges of $520 million. Head of the UNDP, Mark Malloch Brown says they've defied the sceptics who said there is aid fatigue and exhaustion with African crises.

    "We've shown that where there is a strong effective initiative by a new government to get its house in order to put in place a strong plan for its reconstruction and where that is supported by international donors and supported by a multilateral effort to get a common needs assessment that we all have confidence in, it still works."

    Mr. Malloch Brown says it's very important to ensure that the money will be available.

    Annan Hopes for Agreement between Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot Leaders on Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot leaders meet at UN headquarters in New York Tuesday to resume negotiations aimed at reuniting Cyprus. Secretary-general Kofi Annan, speaking to reporters on the eve of the talks, says he hopes the leaders can agree on the ground rules on how to proceed and agree on a work programme that will enable them to conclude their work on 1 May.

    "If we re going to meet the deadline of 1 May, it means we will have to finish the negotiations by end of March to be able to have the referendum in April. So we will discuss all this to see if the parties are prepared to engage and to sustain the effort for us to ensure that a united Cyprus enters the EU on the 1 May."

    Mr. Annan says the two leaders have a historic opportunity to unify their country.

    UN to Step Up Involvement in Haiti very soon

    The United Nations will be stepping up its involvement in Haiti very soon. That, according to Secretary-general Kofi Annan. He says the UN is following the situation in the Caribbean country very closely. Mr. Annan says the UN is in touch with the Organization of American States and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), which is taking the lead on the situation in Haiti. The country has been wracked by political violence and looting. At least 18 people have been killed since opponents of the government began their revolt last Thursday setting police stations on fire.

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