South Korea's Ban Ki-moon was sworn in on Thursday as the next United Nations Secretary General at a General Assembly ceremony during which he vowed to be "a harmoniser and bridge-builder" and build on the legacy of the incumbent, Kofi Annan. The 62-year-old South Korean is to take up his post officially on January 1.
The debate over how to punish Iran for its refusal to suspend sensitive nuclear fuel work resumes in New York on Monday with Western diplomats confident that the United Nations Security Council will approve targeted sanctions against Tehran by Christmas.
Despite a last-minute snag, a United Nations Security Council panel on Tuesday slapped a 12-month travel ban and asset freeze on three Côte d'Ivoire politicians viewed as obstacles to peace. Targeted by the sanctions were Charles Ble Goude and Eugene Djue, two leaders of the nationalist "Young Patriots" loyal to Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo.
Leaders from around the world hold a final day of meetings at the United Nations World Summit in New York on Friday, with Iran's nuclear ambitions and condemnations of terrorism as top issues. Three European foreign ministers on Thursday talked with Iranian officials at the summit in a bid to head off a showdown.
The United Nations rolled out the red carpet on Wednesday for more than 170 leaders attending the world's largest summit one day after approving a watered-down blueprint to restructure the embattled world body on its 60th anniversary. The world leaders will be tasked with endorsing a 35-page UN reform document.
United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan said on Wednesday he assumes responsibility for management lapses in the oil-for-food programme for Iraq, but vowed not to resign as the head of an independent probe into the scandal said member states and the Security Council must share the blame.
South African Minister of Defence Mosiuoa Lekota has assured the United Nations Security Council that his country's mediation in strife-torn Côte d'Ivoire will continue to push for free and fair elections on October 30 as scheduled -- but the rebel New Forces said it refuses to accept any future South African mediation.
African leaders' insistence at their summit on Thursday to drop demands for two permanent veto-wielding seats on an enlarged United Nations Security Council is a major setback for council aspirants Brazil, Germany, India and Japan, which had lobbied hard for African backing, diplomats said.
United Nations envoy Anna Tibaijuka on Wednesday briefed the UN Security Council on her harsh report on Zimbabwe's slum demolition drive as Britain urged the world to extend urgently needed humanitarian aid to its former colony. The closed-door briefing went ahead after a procedural ballot requested by Russia.
An unsteady truce was extended in the flashpoint town of Fallujah on Wednesday despite sporadic clashes and casualties on both sides, as Washington sought Iran's help to ease the violence in Iraq. United States President George Bush said he has authorised troops to use "decisive force" to maintain order in Iraq.
<li><a class='standardtextsmall' href="http://www.mg.co.za/Content/l3.asp?ao=34146">Media bunker down in Iraq</a>