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UN agency racing to prepare for return of 200,000 Angolan refugees

The United Nations refugee agency today said it is racing against the clock to prepare for the repatriation of more than 200,000 Angolans living in neighbouring countries who have indicated their wish to return home.

UN tribunal releases Kosovo Albanian suspect after mistaken identity claim

The United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) ordered the immediate release today of a Kosovo Albanian indicted for war crimes in the murder and torture of Serb and Albanian civilians following a defence claim of mistaken identity.

As deadline nears, countries struggle to finalize text on UN tobacco accord

With reports that smoking kills nearly five million people every year fuelling public debate over tobacco regulations and advertising, all eyes are on Geneva, where final negotiations are drawing to a close on a United Nations-backed treaty aimed at curbing the promotion, sales and smuggling of tobacco products.

Annan calls on Somali factions to end hostilities, recommit to peace

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in a report issued today, calls on Somalia’s faction-ridden leadership to cease “serious hostilities” and urges international donors to contribute generously and speedily to humanitarian and peace-building programmes there.

Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders agree to meet Annan again for final talks

The Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders today agreed to an invitation by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan to meet on 10 March in The Hague to give him a definitive response to a plan that would enable a reunited Cyprus to join the European Union (EU) later this year.

UN anti-racism committee set to begin 2003 session

The United Nations panel monitoring progress on worldwide efforts to prevent racism and racial discrimination is set to open its first substantive session of 2003 next week in Geneva.

UN expert on adequate housing heading to Peru

A United Nations expert on adequate shelter is heading to Peru to assess housing and living conditions, focusing primarily on the needs of the poor, women and minorities.

Top UN refugee official in Afghanistan to discuss returns to north

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Ruud Lubbers, arrived today in northern Afghanistan, where he met with government officials to discuss ways to help displaced Afghans return to their communities.

Former Rwandan camp commander charged by UN pleads not guilty to genocide

A former high-ranking Rwandan camp commander charged with five counts of genocide and other war crimes today pleaded not guilty during his initial appearance before the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

Liberian conflict could engulf all West Africa in crisis, Annan warns

Liberia is at a critical crossroads between peace and conflict, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in a report issued today, warning that continued support for Liberian rebels could engulf the whole of West Africa in an economic and humanitarian crisis.