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UN agency calls on Israel to lift restrictions and ensure safety of its staff in Gaza

With the latest large-scale military operations by Israel severely disrupting its work, the United Nations agency assisting Palestinian refugees today called on the Government to allow its staff in Gaza to move about freely and to lift restrictions that inhibit their work.

As Middle East violence mounts, Annan urges both sides to renew search for peace

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today voiced grave concern at the escalation of violence and the rising casualty toll on both sides in the Gaza Strip and adjacent Israeli areas in the past 24 hours, particularly the death and injuries of children.

UNICEF chief urges more aid to help Haitian victims of tropical storm

The head of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said she will push for more funding to accelerate the relief and recovery efforts under way in northern Haiti after yesterday visiting the area that has been devastated by Tropical Storm Jeanne.

Group of 77's role key to Millennium Declaration review - Annan

The "Group of 77" coalition of developing countries will have a key role to play in galvanizing global action to reach the anti-poverty Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today.

UN mission to Guatemala signs off with warning about racism and inequality

Guatemala has taken great strides forward since the 1996 peace accords ended decades of civil conflict but it is still beset by corruption, crime and a deep-seated legacy of racism and social inequality, the United Nations peace-building mission to the Central American nation says in its final report before it is wound up.

20,000 child soldiers in Sudan have been demobilized, says UN official

About 20,000 former child soldiers have been demobilized from rebel groups in southern Sudan since 2001, but an estimated 17,000 young combatants remain and their reintegration could be hampered by prevailing poverty and discrimination, a paper co-authored by a United Nations official says.

Using officials and donkeys, Afghans prepare for historic presidential vote

The people of Afghanistan will vote on 9 October in the first presidential election in their history with the help of more than 115,000 polling officials, 100,000 voting screens and 300 donkeys, the United Nations mission to the country said today as it unveiled details of the final preparations taking place.

UN officials hail Russian approval of Kyoto climate change treaty

United Nations officials today welcomed the Russian Government's endorsement of the Kyoto Protocol regulating emissions linked to climate change - a move that brings the pact one step closer to enforcement.

UN rights officials tell Security Council international police are required in Sudan

An international police presence is needed in Sudan's troubled Darfur region to accompany and monitor local police officers so that the vast population of internally displaced persons (IDPs) there are protected, two senior United Nations human rights officials told the Security Council today.

Concerns of island nations top final session of UN Assembly's high-level debate

The United Nations General Assembly wrapped up its annual high-level debate today by hearing calls for continued assistance to small island nations struggling to deal with development and environmental issues.