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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 June 2006, 18:29 GMT 19:29 UK
Bahrain woman heads UN assembly
A vote at the UN General Assembly. File photo
The assembly comprises all 191 UN member states
Bahrain's first female diplomat Haya Rashed al-Khalifa has been elected president of the UN General Assembly.

She will succeed Jan Eliasson, the Swedish foreign minister, when the new assembly session opens in September.

Ms Khalifa, 53, was earlier approved by the 191-nation assembly's Asian bloc in accordance with the rotation principle.

She is one of the first women to have practised law in Bahrain and is known as a champion of women's rights in the country's Islamic courts.

She has her own law firm and is an adviser to Bahrain's royal court.

In 2000-2004, she was Bahrain's ambassador to France.

Ms Khalifa is the third woman to hold the one-year presidency of the General Assembly.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said Ms Khalifa would bring a new dimension to the work of the assembly.

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