Asia Pacific

Following first-ever elections, East Timor begins to count ballots: UN mission

There were no reported problems as vote-counting got underway in East Timor this morning - one day after the territory's first democratic elections, according to the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET).

Afghanistan: Annan concerned at Taliban's reported detention of aid workers

Reacting to the Taliban's reported detention of aid workers trying to help the beleaguered people of Afghanistan, Secretary-General Kofi Annan today urged the group to assure the security of humanitarian personnel in the country.

UN refugee agency proposes solution to ongoing Christmas Island boat saga

The United Nations refugee agency today proposed a plan to resolve the stalemate that has kept more than 450 people - mostly Afghans - aboard a container ship off Christmas Island for the past five days.

UNHCR suspends screening of Afghans following deportations from Pakistan

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) today announced the suspension of its screening programme for Afghans living in Pakistan after the country's authorities deported 28 families.

East Timor reconciliation efforts gain momentum, UN mission says

As part of the ongoing efforts of the United Nations mission in East Timor to resolve the refugee situation, a senior pro-autonomy leader today visited the former militia stronghold of Covalima District, where he met over 200 representatives of the local community.

More Afghans return home under UNHCR repatriation plan

Close to 11,000 Afghans have returned home from Pakistan since the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) began a voluntary repatriation programme six weeks ago, UN officials said today.

Comprehensive approach needed to end Afghanistan conflict - Annan

After more than 20 years of "fruitless endeavours," the Security Council might wish to consider adopting a comprehensive approach to settling the conflict in Afghanistan, Secretary-General Kofi Annan suggests in a new report released today.

UN food agency calls on Taliban to stop 'baseless' allegations

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today called on the Taliban authorities to stop making baseless allegations against the agency and its staff in Afghanistan.

UN Volunteers finalize preparations for East Timor elections

A 284-strong contingent of activists from a volunteer arm of the United Nations spread out today across all districts of East Timor to finalize arrangements for the territory's historic Constituent Assembly elections set for 30 August.

Ballot papers for upcoming elections arrive in East Timor, UN says

With less than two weeks remaining before East Timor's elections, ballot papers arrived in the territory under tight security, the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) announced today.