Middle East

Israeli soldiers block UN convoys from Palestine refugee camp

Two separate United Nations convoys travelling to a refugee camp in Gaza were blocked by an Israeli checkpoint today and forced to turn back without reaching their destination.

Annan urges Israel to withdraw from all areas under Palestinian authority

Concerned that Israel's actions in the Middle East are adding to mounting tensions in the region, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today urged the country to withdraw from areas under Palestinian authority.

Iraq earns additional $362 million under UN 'oil-for-food' programme

Iraq has exported 16.8 million barrels of crude over the past week, earning an estimated €397 million (euros), or $362 million, under the United Nations oil-for-food programme that allows Baghdad to use a portion of its petroleum revenues to purchase humanitarian relief goods.

Warning that Middle East violence could spread, Annan urges parties to talk

Warning that the current violence in the Middle East threatens to expand, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today repeated his call for talks between the parties.

Palestinian economy mired in crisis of unprecedented severity, UN report warns

With the Palestinian economy mired in a crisis of "unprecedented" depth and severity, a genuine recovery will take years and will need substantial resources even if there is a quick end to the region's current political problems and a resumption of normal economic activity, a new United Nations report warns.

Iraq: WHO experts set to study reported rise in non-communicable diseases

A team from the World Health Organization (WHO) is set to visit Iraq to finalize proposals for studies on non-communicable diseases and congenital malformations, the United Nations agency said today.

Annan welcomes possibility of Middle East talks

Secretary-General Kofi Annan today said he supported the efforts of German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer to set up a high-level meeting between the Israeli and Palestinian sides in an effort to end the current wave of violence in the Middle East.

Security Council members urge Iraq to cooperate on issue of missing Kuwaitis

Expressing "deep concern" at the continuing plight of missing Kuwaitis and nationals of other countries in Iraq following the Persian Gulf war, members of the Security Council today urged Baghdad to cooperate with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's high-level envoy to resolve the issue.

Israeli delegation to view Lebanon videotape at UN's Geneva headquarters

An Israeli delegation will have a second look at videotapes and related items that could shed light on the condition of three Israeli soldiers abducted on the Israeli-Lebanese border last year, a United Nations spokesman said today.

In daylong debate, Security Council discusses deteriorating Middle East situation

Responding to the escalating tensions in the Middle East, the United Nations Security Council today held a daylong open debate on the situation in the region, including the Palestinian question.