International brief ~ Iraq conference opens in Egypt

[JURIST] The International Conference on Iraq opened Tuesday in Egypt, addressing security concerns, election procedures, and the insurgency problems the fledgling democracy faces. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan called on the world to support the election process in Iraq, as well as speed up the actual production of the $30 billion (USD) that has been promised for rebuilding in Iraq. Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Abu al-Ghait, the conference host, began the day with a call for Iraq to allow as many individuals as possibleto participate in the upcoming vote. French foreign minister Michel Barnier also called for a time frame for the removal of coalition troops from Iraq, but the communique released by the conference at the end of the day was understood to not address this question. JURIST's Paper Chase has background on Iraq. Al-Jazeera has more.... Moscow has officially recognized Ukranian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych as the winner of the Sunday election for Ukranian President on Monday. The election has been hotly contested as rigged and rife with fraud. Supporters of opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko protested the results and have gathered in the capital city of Kiev, with reports from Ukranian media outlets now putting their numbers over 100,000. The protestors have erected tents and have pledged to remain until the Ukranian Parliament undertakes an investigation into the allegations of fraud. As reported in JURIST's Paper Chase Monday, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has said that the elections failed to meet international standards. The official US observer, Senator Richard Lugar, has alleged a "concerted and forceful fraud" and the US State Department has warned that a failure to review the alleged fraud could result in a re-examination of the US's relations with Ukraine. Itar-Tass has more on Putin's recognition of Yanukovych. BBC News has more.... The UN Staff Union in Geneva passed a resolution Monday stating their strong support of the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The resolution was in response to a draft statement prepared by the New York staff union that expressed dissapointment and concern with UN management in light of the recent Food-for-Oil and DRC sexual abuse scandals. Annan's spokesman, Fred Eckhard, clarified that the resolution approved Friday, reported in JURIST's Paper Chase here, was critical of UN management, not Annan, and that rumors of Annan's resignation were "ridiculous" The UN News Centre has more.... The Office of the UN Secretary-General submitted a report Monday that cited the rise in the presence of illegal weapons on the streets of Haiti as the reason for the increasing unrest in the country. Annan urged the UN Security Council to expand the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti a further 18 months until the end of May, 2006 in light of the country's scheduled elections for February, 2006. The UN News Centre has more.... EU Defence Ministers announced Tuesday that they have approved a Rapid Reaction Force to be composed of French, Italian, British and Spanish troops. The RRF will be composed initially of four units of 1,500 troops. Other EU countries are expected to contribute troops at a later time. The RRF would be used to fill in for peacekeeping and humanitarian missions until a UN authorized force would be deployed. UK Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon said that the RRF was not the beginning of a European standing army and that its deployment would be subject to approval from the EU. BBC News has more.



 

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