Middle East

Israeli-Palestinian peace moves at ‘deep and worrying impasse,’ UN official warns

With no Israeli-Palestinian negotiations underway, no agreed terms of reference for such talks, and Israel’s refusal to freeze settlements posing a key challenge, a senior United Nations official today called for “immediate actions on the ground” to prevent Middle East peace efforts from unravelling.

UN still concerned over access to civilians displaced by Yemen conflict

United Nations agencies and their partners are continuing to assist civilians uprooted by fighting in northern Yemen, but warned today that access to internally displaced persons (IDPs) that are not staying in camps is still a concern.

Ban voices sympathy to family after UN staffer’s remains found in Lebanon

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today expressed his sympathies to the family of Alec Collett, a staff member of the United Nations agency assisting Palestinian refugees who disappeared 24 years ago and whose remains have now been found in Lebanon.

No improvement in Palestinian access to Israeli-occupied West Bank land, UN reports

Israel continued to increase freedom of movement for Palestinians between most urban centres in the West Bank over the past six months, but access to land has not significantly improved, with 60 per cent of the area remaining largely off-limits for use and development, according to a new United Nations report released today.

Paper football signed by UN chief fetches over $200,000 at charity auction

A street football from the slums of Nairobi, Kenya, made from paper, wrapped in plastic bags and tied with string – and signed by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon – was the top scorer at a United Nations-backed gala auction in Dubai last night that raised nearly $1 million for Palestinian youth.

Palestinian children mark 20th year of UN rights treaty with video testimony

Tens of thousands of Palestinian refugee children in United Nations schools in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria have been clicking away with flip cams to create the region’s first ever online video yearbook to mark the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

UN and Iraq agree on plan to boost governance, socio-economic development

The United Nations and Iraq have agreed on the basics of a new development partnership to strengthen Iraqi governance, social services and economic growth over the next five years.

Lebanon: UN force commander confers with prime minister on security in south

The military chief of United Nations peacekeepers in Lebanon today met separately with Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri to discuss the security situation in the south of the country.

Potential Israeli settler violence threatens 250,000 Palestinians – UN report

Nearly 250,000 Palestinians in 83 communities on the West Bank are at risk of heightened violence in so-called “price tag” revenge attacks that Israeli settlers may launch against a large-scale attempt by Israel to evacuate outposts it considers illegal, a United Nations report warned today.

Following Iraqi presidential veto, Ban hopes elections can be held promptly

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon voiced the hope today that Iraq would move forward on holding national elections slated for January after the Presidency Council’s decision to veto the electoral law.