U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan says the United Nations supports Iraq's scheduled elections next month and will broaden its efforts to ensure the ballot is a success, if necessary. In comments Thursday following a meeting in Washington with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, Mr. Annan said the world body has enough people in place now working to support the elections, and he indicated more will be added to "get the job done."
The United States and Iraq's interim government have lobbied the United Nations to do more to assist the January 30 elections.
The European Union is awaiting a response from Turkey to its offer to begin membership talks with Ankara next October. EU leaders meeting in Brussels adopted their position on Turkey late Thursday, but said Ankara would have to recognize the Greek-led government on Cyprus before membership negotiations could begin.
A human-rights group says two Lao dissidents imprisoned for 14 years each are now in France. Amnesty International says Feng Sakchittaphong and Latsami Khamphoui, who both have close family connections in France, arrived in the country Thursday.
The Vientiane government announced last month that the dissidents had completed their 14-year prison terms (in October). They were detained in 1990 on national security charges, including libel, slander and making preparations for a rebellion.
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