Middle East

UN envoy on Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon leaves tonight for new talks

The United Nations envoy seeking the withdrawal of thousands of Syrian troops from Lebanon is set to leave for the region tonight with personal messages from Secretary-General Kofi Annan to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and Lebanese President Emile Lahoud.

UN issues charge letter against official faulted in Iraq Oil-for-Food probe

The United Nations has issued a charge letter against the head of its internal watchdog office, based on an adverse finding against him in the report of an independent committee probing alleged misconduct and mismanagement in the UN Oil-for-Food Programme for Iraq, a spokesman said today.

UN envoy stresses need for neighbouring states to support Iraqi transition

The senior United Nations envoy for Iraq looked beyond its borders today, discussing with Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Mohammed Sabah al-Salim al-Sabah the importance of next month's meeting of neighbouring states in Istanbul in showing a willingness to support the transition process in the conflict-torn country.

Annan names veteran Norwegian diplomat as representative for southern Lebanon

Secretary-General Kofi Annan today nominated a veteran Norwegian diplomat with Middle Eastern and United Nations experience to be his new Personal Representative for southern Lebanon, focusing on containing tensions along the line marking the withdrawal of Israeli forces.

UN envoy on Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon meets with US Secretary Rice

The United Nations envoy seeking the withdrawal of some thousands of Syrian troops from Lebanon discussed his mission with United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice today on the eve of his return to the region.

Annan says exoneration by Iraq Oil-for-Food report 'great relief'

Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today it was a "great relief," after so "many distressing and untrue allegations," that an independent committee probing alleged misconduct and mismanagement in the United Nations Oil-for-Food programme for Iraq had exonerated him of any wrongdoing in the award of a contract to a firm that employed his son.

Management reforms underway address findings of Volcker probe, UN official says

The United Nations is putting in place better management practices that address the shortcomings revealed in the latest interim report by an independent panel looking into allegations of wrongdoing in the Oil-for-Food programme for Iraq, Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Chief of Staff said today.

Annan calls for international probe into Lebanese ex-premier's assassination

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has called on the Security Council to launch an independent international investigation into last month's assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri after receiving the report of a mission he set up to probe the circumstances, causes and consequences of the murder.

Seeking political inclusiveness, UN envoy meets with Iraq's top Shiite cleric

The senior United Nations envoy for Iraq has met with the country's top Shiite Muslim cleric as he begins his ninth week of intensive consultations to ensure that all elements of Iraqi society take part in writing a new constitution after Sunni Arabs largely stayed away from January's elections.

UN will not pay for legal fees of official implicated in Iraq Oil-for-Food probe

The United Nations has decided that it is not appropriate to reimburse Benon Sevan, former head of the now defunct multi-billion dollar Oil-for-Food programme for Iraq, for legal bills stemming from his appearance before an independent inquiry committee probing charges of misconduct and mismanagement, a UN spokesman said today.