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World Cup fever spreads throughout UN peacekeeping missions

World Cup fever spreads throughout UN peacekeeping missions

UN peacekeepers in Cyprus watching the World Cup
The peacekeeping contingents from the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Japan serving with the United Nations Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET) have launched a "Mini World Cup" to coincide with the international football tournament currently hosted by the two countries.

The month-long competition that began 1 June is featuring matches between 40 local clubs in East Timor's enclave of Oecussi and will culminate with the winning team facing off in a 30 June final against a joint Japanese-ROK side.

The ROK battalion has also erected a massive screen near their headquarters in Oecussi, which has been showing live World Cup matches from the two countries to large crowds.

Meanwhile in Geneva, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan today met with his Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace, Adolf Ogi, who briefed the UN leader on his efforts to facilitate a contribution from the international soccer federation, FIFA, to help install three large-screen TV monitors at public venues in Kabul so Afghans could follow the World Cup tournament. According to Mr. Ogi, the monitors will be set up by Sunday.

Earlier this week in Cyprus, peacekeepers there enjoyed the World Cup match between the Republic of Korea and Poland, as the UN mission has senior officials from both countries.

The Polish Chief of Mission, Zbigniew Wlosowicz, and the Korean Force Commander, Major-General Jin Ha Hwang, watched the match together in Nicosia as the Republic of Korea beat Poland 2-0.