News in Brief 24 December 2015 (AM)

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A view of the old town of Benghazi, Libya. Photo: UNSMIL/Iason Athanasiadis

Envoy urges Libyans to back peace agreement

Libyans are being encouraged to unite and support the establishment of the country's new unity government.

The appeal was made by Martin Kobler, head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), in a message on Thursday to mark the country's 64 years of independence.

Two rival regimes have been battling for control of the North African country following the overthrow of former President Muammar Al-Qaddafi in 2011.

A political agreement signed last week paves the way for the formation of a Government of National Accord.

Mr Kobler said the year ahead will be an important one for Libya.

He said with the signing of the agreement, Libyans now have "a clear plan" for rebuilding a strong, united and peaceful country.

Denmark contributes to secure and democratic Iraq

A US$3.3 million contribution from Denmark will support Iraq's efforts to stabilize areas of the country that have been liberated from the terrorist group ISIL, also known as Daesh.

This follows the signing of an agreement between the European country and the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

The funds will be used for projects related to participatory and accountable governance, security sector reform and public works, aimed at building a more secure, prosperous and democratic Iraq.

Blue helmet in Lebanon and asylum seeker in Greece spread Christmas cheer

A peacekeeper with the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) has used the Christmas spirit to unite local children with their counterparts in Spain.

Lt. Col Louis Fernando Perez Amo, who is from Spain, is serving in the southern mountain village of Marjayoun.

He initiated the cultural exchange after finding out that the Sacred Heart School in Granada, Spain, shared the same name with a school there.

The students were connected via Skype to sing a Christmas carol which soon evolved into an hour of questions and answers about their lives.

Meanwhile, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reports that a Congolese asylum seeker is sharing Christmas joy with refugee children at a reception centre in northern Greece.

Michel Kamusha, an artist from Kinshasa, has decorated a tree with socks, toys, shoes and clothes as a means to give hope to the youngsters.

This year, one million refugees and migrants fled to Europe, one-third of them children, according to UN figures.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 2'26"

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