Middle East

UN calls on donors to help repair tsunami damage to Yemen’s fishing industry

Fishing communities in Yemen were much more seriously affected by last December’s Indian Ocean tsunami than originally thought, and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today appealed to donors for $2.2 million for a rehabilitation project to help some 2,000 households.

UNESCO deplores yet another journalist’s murder in Iraq

In its second appeal in three days for the protection of journalists in Iraq, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) today condemned the murder of an Iraqi television producer, noting that 80 journalists or support staff have been killed in the strife-torn country since the start of the war in 2003.

UN programme helps create Iraqi news agency

Iraq will soon have its first independent and commercially viable news agency, run and staffed by Iraqi journalists, providing breaking news to local, regional and international media, under a project supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Annan says he has indications Iran and Europeans ready to continue nuclear talks

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today he had received indications from both Iran and European negotiators that they would continue their search for a solution to the oil producer’s nuclear programme, which some countries, including the United States, see as an effort to produce nuclear weapons.

Secretary-General vows UN will take energetic steps to prevent future corruption

The United Nations will act vigorously to ensure there are no more “bad apples” in its procurement department, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today, pledging that the corruption outlined yesterday in the latest report from the investigative panel probing the Iraq Oil-for-Food-programme “will not happen again.”

Iraq: Envoy, Council discuss UN support as constitution-drafting deadline nears

With the 15 August deadline to complete Iraq's draft constitution fast-approaching, the senior United Nations envoy in Baghdad and the Security Council in New York today held discussions on ways the world body can support the country's ongoing political transition, including planned elections.

Iraq: UN agency appeals for $5.4 million to rebuild seed industry, avert shortages

Iraq's seed industry has collapsed and the country is currently not able to meet farmers' needs for improved crop varieties, seriously threatening its food security, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned today as it launched a $5.4 million appeal to rebuild the national seed industry.

Iran re-starts uranium conversion plant before UN completes surveillance tests

Iran re-started activities at a uranium conversion plant today following the installation of surveillance cameras by the United Nations atomic watchdog but “regrettably” prior to completion of their testing, the agency entrusted with curbing the spread of nuclear weapons reported.

Palestinian militants kidnap then release UN staff in Gaza Strip

A Palestinian militant group kidnapped three staff members of the main United Nations agency helping Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip this morning, releasing them several hours later following negotiations.

Acting on new Oil-for-Food report, Annan lifts official's immunity, pledges further steps

Voicing deep concern at the latest report by the independent commission probing the United Nations Oil-for-Food Programme for Iraq, Secretary-General Kofi Annan today waived the immunity of a former procurement officer accused of soliciting kickbacks, said he would do the same for another official implicated in the case and pledged to act quickly to strengthen controls over the procurement process.