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Brahimi heads to Rome for meeting with former Afghan King

Brahimi heads to Rome for meeting with former Afghan King

Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative for Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi, left Tehran today for Rome where he met with the former King of Afghanistan, Mohammad Zahir Shah, according to a United Nations spokesman.

Mr. Brahimi also had meetings with senior Italian officials, including Foreign Minister, Renato Ruggiero, spokesman Fred Eckhard told reporters in New York.

As Mr. Brahimi headed to Rome, his Deputy, Francesc Vendrell, left for Dushanbe, Tajikistan, to pursue contacts with Afghan parties and individuals.

Meanwhile inside Afghanistan, UN agencies continued their race to immunize all Afghan children under five years of age against polio. The effort, which is being carried out jointly by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), involves organizing volunteers, distributing polio vaccines and vitamin A, and monitoring the campaign across Afghanistan.

According to a UNICEF spokesman, the immunizations have started as scheduled, with no incidents reported. "To raise awareness about the vaccinations among the Afghan public, the Dari and Pashto language services of the BBC and VOA have been broadcasting related announcements," spokesman Chulho Hyun told the press in Islamabad. "The local television station in Faizabad, the only operating TV station in the country, has also been airing such messages since 1 November."