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UN Radio: Norway Calls For Key UN Role In Iraq

UN Radio: Norway Calls For Key UN Role In Iraq

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  • Special Report: Handover of Iraqi Oil for Food Programme to Coalition Provisional Authority plagued by insecurity and delays
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  • Norway Calls For Key UN Role In Iraq

    There are continuing calls for the United Nations to play a key role in setting the benchmarks and guiding the political process towards early restoration of Iraq's sovereignty and the transfer of power to an Iraqi government. The latest call comes from Norway's foreign minister Jan Petersen. He told the General Assembly that a careful timeframe must be drawn up and the tasks assigned to the United Nations in Iraq should be realistic and achievable:

    "Unless the security needs in Iraq are met, valuable time on the road to political stability, democracy, and economic and social development will be lost. Without a safe and secure environment, the United Nations is unable to help Iraq along that road."

    Debate continues in the General Assembly with member States highlighting issues such as terrorism, globalisation, trade, HIV/AIDS and reform of the United Nations, among the issues of global concern.

    Insecurity Slows Phasing Out Of UN Food Programme In Iraq

    The United Nations remains confident that it would be able to close the Iraqi oil-for-food programme by the November 21 deadline. In a report to the Security Council, the head of the Iraq Programme Benon Sevan said that handover preparations and best-case scenarios have been undermined by chronic insecurity and the tragic terrorist attack on the UN headquarters in Baghdad on 19 August. Shortly after briefing the council, Mr. Sevan told reporters the security and safety of staff remains paramount.

    "Of course, there are some difficulties due to staff reductions because of the security situation…In any event we are working with the CPA - the Coalition Provisional Authority and the Iraqi authorities in Iraq in an effort to find alternative ways of trying and transfer all the assets."

    The oil-for-food programme which allowed the Iraqi government to sell oil for food and humanitarian supplies, served as the sole source of sustenance for more than 60- per cent of the Iraqi population.

    Promotion of the Rule of Law Paramount in Rebuilding Secure Society: UN official

    The UN's top peacekeeping official has warned that the restoration of the rule of law is indispensable for the sustainable resolution of conflict, and the rebuilding of secure, orderly and humane societies. Under-Secretary- General Jean-Marie Guehenno told the Security Council Tuesday that if the aim of the United Nations is to prevent conflict, or relapses into conflict, then promotion of the rule of law should be among the priority concerns of the international community:

    "We have witnessed, time and again, a population's loss of faith in a peace process due to the absence of security and lack of accountability for criminal acts. We have been present in countries where, even a year into the peace process, courts do not function in even a rudimentary way."

    Under-Secretary-General Guehenno said the UN could no longer afford to treat the rule of law as a side activity.

    Human Rights Rapporteur Accuses Israel Of Human Rights Abuses

    A new report released Tuesday accuses Israel of continuing abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law in the occupied Palestinian territories. The report by UN Special Rapporteur on the Occupied Palestinian Territories John Dugard describes the Israeli actions as disproportionate". It says Israel justifies its attacks in the occupied territories on the grounds of self-defence and portrays them as anti-terrorism measures.

    The report was highlighted by spokesman Jose Diaz of the office of the high commissioner for human rights.

    "That Israel has security concerns cannot be denied. On the other hand, some limits must be placed on the violation of human rights in the name of counter-terrorism. A balance must be struck between respect for human rights and the interests of security."

    The report was presented in Geneva at an informal one-day meeting of the Commission of Human Rights.

    Liberian Refugees Continue To Flee Into Guinea

    Hundreds of Liberian refugees continue to flee into Guinea, fearing fighting between government and rebel forces. The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) says the flow of refugees continues despite an overall improvement in the security situation in Liberia. Spokesman Peter Kessler says some Liberians were going back and forth across the border:

    "They said they left their homes in Lofa county following threats of rebel attacks. In the centre of the country, there have been reports of fighting between LURD rebels who are battling government forces."

    Spokesman Peter Kessler says the departures were fuelled by reports that rebels were harassing civilians, looting and raping women.

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