Middle East

Annan congratulates Lebanon on elections, ready to extend further support

The United Nations, which has recently undertaken several missions to Lebanon, stands ready to extend support and assistance to the new Government, as and if required, following yesterday's conclusion of parliamentary elections, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today.

Donors meet in Baghdad to coordinate aid to Iraq – UN

A senior delegation of United Nations and donor country officials held talks in Baghdad this weekend on coordinating assistance to Iraq as well as the country's development priorities, the UN mission there (UNAMI) said today.

UN envoy to Iraq provides update to Kurdish leader Barzani

The senior United Nations envoy to Iraq has updated Masoud Barzani, the new President of the Kurdish Regional Government, on the world body's activities in the country.

Mandate of UN observer force in Golan Heights extended until year's end

The Security Council today extended for six months the mandate of the 31-year old United Nations peacekeeping force observing the ceasefire between Israeli and Syrian forces in the Golan Heights.

UN calls on all countries for evidence in probe on Lebanese ex-premier's murder

The head of the United Nations probe into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri said today that any country failing to provide relevant information without delay will bear full responsibility "should we fail in our efforts to establish the truth" behind the murder, which led to the withdrawal of Syrian troops from its smaller neighbour.

Israeli-Palestinian talks continue hopeful trend in Middle East, Security Council told

With confidence-building measures being discussed, Israelis and Palestinians are "slowly and not without difficulty" moving to coordinate implementation of Israel's withdrawal from Gaza and parts of the northern West Bank, the senior United Nations political affairs officer told the Security Council today.

UN atomic watchdog urges speedy Iranian cooperation on nuclear programme

The head of the United Nations agency entrusted with curbing the spread of nuclear weapons today called for an extra effort and speedier cooperation by Iran to build the necessary confidence that its nuclear programme is solely for peaceful purposes.

Annan hails Iraqi accord to make constitution-drafting process more inclusive

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today welcomed the Iraqi agreement to expand the Constitution Drafting Committee to be more inclusive of the Sunni Arab community, long a goal of the world body's efforts to bring stability to the country after Sunni Arabs largely absented themselves from elections in January.

UN team investigating murder of Lebanese ex-Premier Hariri begins work

The United Nations commission established to investigate the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri became fully operational today, marking the official start of its efforts to find out who was behind the murder which led ultimately to the withdrawal of Syrian troops from its smaller neighbour.

Iraq: envoy reaffirms UN's commitment to constitution-writing process

The top United Nations envoy in Iraq today met with more senior officials in his efforts to ensure that those sectors of Iraqi society left outside the recently-elected national Assembly, particularly Sunni Arabs, take part in writing the new constitution.