Europe

Kosovo and Serb leaders meet for first time on the province’s status at UN-backed talks

Top Serbian and Kosovar leaders met for the first time today to discuss plans for the future status of the United Nations-run province of Kosovo, and while both sides remain far apart politically, the UN official overseeing the discussions welcomed the start of dialogue and said the world body remained committed to further negotiations.

Decentralization talks on the UN-run province of Kosovo held in Vienna

In the run-up to a high-level meeting next week on the future status of the United Nations-run province of Kosovo, delegations from Pristina and the Serbian capital of Belgrade met today in Vienna to discuss the decentralization process in the province, a UN spokesman said.

Annan names Jean Arnault as new head of UN mission in Georgia

Secretary-General Kofi Annan has informed the Security Council of his intention to appoint Jean Arnault of France as the new United Nations Special Representative in Georgia, a spokesman for the world body said today.

Humanitarian progress in North Caucasus but concerns remain: UN

United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working together in the impoverished and conflict-ridden North Caucasus region have made “significant progress” in protecting civilians and providing humanitarian relief over the past six months, according to a report issued today which also highlights the scale of the problems involved and continuing security concerns.

Kosovo status talks to enter new high-level political phase, UN envoy says

As senior officials from Kosovo and Serbia met in New York today with members of the Security Council, a United Nations envoy told that body that status talks on the province will soon enter a more advanced phase.

UN World Heritage Committee threatens to de-list German site if bridge is built

The United Nations World Heritage Committee has threatened to remove the Dresden Elbe Valley in Germany, an outstanding complex of baroque buildings and natural landscape, from its list of humankind’s priceless cultural legacy if local authorities go ahead with plans to build a bridge over the river.

UN food agency warns it will halt its Chechnya operation soon without more funds

Already forced because of lack of funding to reduce assistance to displaced people from war-torn Chechnya, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today warned it would have to halt its operation in the devastated republic entirely in three months unless fresh pledges are made soon.

Annan underlines Holocaust remembrance as crucial to preventing future genocides

The United Nations will expand its partnerships with civil society to commemorate the uniqueness of the Holocaust in human history and to draw from the Nazi German murder of millions of Jews and other minorities lessons to help to prevent future acts of genocide, Secretary-General Kofi Annan has told the General Assembly.

UN envoy says dialogue possible over Georgia-Abkhazia conflict; stresses police role

The outgoing United Nations envoy for Georgia said today that there now exists a “possibility for a political dialogue” between Georgian authorities and Abkhaz separatists over a dispute that flared into open warfare 14 years ago, while stressing the important role being played by UN police in the region and the need for them to be allowed onto both sides of the conflict zone.

In Germany, Annan opens new UN complex, praises Government’s support

Opening a new complex to house United Nations offices in Germany, Secretary-General Kofi Annan today praised the central role support for the world Organization has long played in German foreign policy.