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A handout picture released by the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (photo: AFP /UNAMID/ALBERT GONZALEZ FARRAN)

UN deadline in Sudan set to end without progress

  As the United Nations’ deadline for peace talks between Sudan and South Sudan looms ever nearer, Sudan has been plagued by the largest anti-government demonstration the country has seen since austerity measures were implemented in June. The protest raged on Tuesday as over 1,000 people, mostly students, took to the streets in Darfur in …

Luiz Sanchez

UN aims to triple Syria observer team next week

By Frank Jordans / AP GENEVA: The United Nations hopes to have 30 cease-fire monitors in Syria next week and plans are already being made for the deployment of up to 300, a spokesman for international envoy Kofi Annan said Friday, as France called on the international community to prepare for the possible failure of …


S.Africa outraged by changes to UN Western Sahara report

UNITED NATIONS: South Africa’s United Nations envoy voiced outrage on Tuesday at the watering-down of a UN report on the disputed territory of Western Sahara, which the Polisario Front independence movement says the world body changed due to French and Moroccan pressure. “That was very deplorable,” South African Ambassador Baso Sangqu told reporters after a …


Shelling in Syria as UN monitors begin mission

By Zeina Karam / AP BEIRUT: An advance team of UN observers was negotiating the ground rules with Syrian authorities Monday for monitoring the country’s 5-day-old cease-fire, which appeared to be rapidly unraveling as regime forces pounded the opposition stronghold of Homs with artillery shells and mortars, activists said. Even though the overall level of violence …


Syria truce takes shaky hold, Annan presses Syria

By Mariam Karouny and Dominic Evans /Reuters BEIRUT: Syrian troops held their fire on Thursday after a U.N.-backed ceasefire deadline passed, giving respite to rebellious towns that have suffered heavy bombardments, but international envoy Kofi Annan pressed Damascus to pull its forces back entirely. “Syria is apparently experiencing a rare moment of calm on the ground,” …


Syrian military on offensive before truce deadline

By Oliver Holmes and Douglas Hamilton / Reuters BEIRUT: Syria has assured the United Nations it will respect a ceasefire with rebels due to take effect in less than 24 hours, peace envoy Kofi Annan said on Wednesday, but President Bashar Al-Assad’s forces kept up attacks in several cities. Western powers have scorned Assad’s pledges, but …


Pope, in Easter message, backs Syria peace plan

By Philip Pullella / Reuters VATICAN CITY: A fatigued-looking Pope Benedict threw his weight behind a United Nations plan to end bloodshed in Syria in his Easter Sunday message, calling for “an immediate commitment” to peace efforts there. The 84-year-old pope gave a shorter-than-usual blessing from the central balcony of St Peter’s Basilica after an outdoor …


Annan says Syria agrees to April 10 peace deadline

By Louis Charbonneau /Reuters UNITED NATIONS: Kofi Annan asked the UN Security Council to back an April 10 deadline for partial implementation of his peace plan for Syria, telling its members that Syria had agreed to the date, diplomats said on Monday. The UN-Arab League peace envoy told the council behind closed doors that troops would …


Syria fighting rages, Annan urges immediate ceasefire

DAMASCUS: International envoy Kofi Annan urged Syria’s President Bashar Al-Assad to immediately implement a ceasefire, as fighting raged Friday even after the embattled leader said he had accepted the peace plan. UN-Arab League peace broker Annan made the appeal as monitors said shells rained down on Homs, a main rebel bastion which has been the …


Saving the Syrians

By Gareth Evans CANBERRA: Despite the United Nations Security Council’s belated endorsement of UN Special Envoy Kofi Annan’s peacemaking mission in Syria, confidence that Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad will cooperate in any serious or sustained way remains low, and calls for external military intervention continue. As Syria’s crisis goes from bad to worse, those urging armed …


UN: Egypt’s foot and mouth outbreak could spread

By AP ROME: A UN agency is warning that an outbreak of foot and mouth disease in Egypt could spread and threaten livestock in North Africa and the Middle East, leading to possible food shortages. The disease is not a direct threat to humans but meat and milk from sick animals are unsafe for consumption. …


UN aims to press Syria, new clashes in Damascus

DAMASCUS: The UN Security Council was to weigh a draft statement on Tuesday warning Syria of “further measures” if it fails to cooperate with peace envoy Kofi Annan, as fresh violence struck Damascus. Russian support for a daily humanitarian truce had raised hopes of a breakthrough at the Security Council but on Tuesday Moscow made …


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