Middle East

5 days before Iraqi poll, UN envoy reviews steps to ensure fairness, transparency

With five days to go until Iraqis vote for a national assembly that will appoint a new provisional government, write a constitution and organize definitive elections by the end of the year, the top United Nations envoy in the country today reviewed measures aimed at holding a fair and transparent poll.

Independent Oil-for-Food panel interviews UN Secretary-General

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan was interviewed today by members of the Independent Inquiry Committee (IIC) he commissioned to examine allegations of corruption surrounding the now-defunct Oil-for-Food programme for Iraq.

UN envoy holds intensive meetings with Iraqi leaders in run-up to elections

The United Nations special envoy for Iraq Ashraf Qazi has been holding intensive meetings with Iraqi leaders to identify specific mechanisms to improve the security and political environments in which Iraq's Independent Electoral Commission will hold elections next Sunday, the UN mission in Baghdad said today.

With tensions high between Israel and Lebanon, Annan recommends renewal of UN force mandate

Recommending a six-month extension of the United Nations peace-monitoring force's mandate in the so-called Blue Line between Israel and Lebanon, Secretary-General Kofi Annan says two incidents in January decisively shattered a period of relative calm over the past six months.

UN encouraged by new Palestinian move to end Gaza violence

The latest developments in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with the deployment of Palestinian security forces in northern Gaza are "very encouraging," a United Nations spokesman said today, after days of concern that a fresh upsurge of violence could abort renewed hopes for progress.

In face of violence, UN has done all it can technically for Iraqi elections – Annan

With less than two weeks left before Iraq’s elections, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today the United Nations had fulfilled its role as technical adviser, and he appealed to the Government to make the vote as inclusive as possible despite the “far from ideal” situation of violence prevailing in the country.

After renewed violence, Annan vows to get Middle East peace plan back on track

Alarmed by the recent upsurge of violence between Israelis and Palestinians after hopes of a fresh start with the election of a new Palestinian president, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan vowed today to do whatever it takes to get the so-called Road Map peace plan back on track.

Arab nationalists in Iraq must be persuaded to support elections, UN envoy says

Elections scheduled to take place at the end of this month in Iraq must be as inclusive as possible, the United Nations envoy to the country said today, calling for greater efforts to reach out to Arab nationalists, especially the Sunni Muslims who have voiced reservations about the polling process.

Annan says Palestinians should support new leadership to achieve statehood

Calling recent violence a setback to the Middle East peace process, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today appealed to Palestinians to support their new leader in efforts to achieve the long-sought goal of statehood.

Annan condemns deadly Palestinian terror attack at Gaza crossing

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today condemned the Palestinian terror attack Thursday night that caused the death of six Israeli civilians and injury to four others.