Middle East

Amid ongoing insecurity, UN steps up political assistance to Iraqis

As lack of security continues to cause deep concern among United Nations humanitarian agencies in Iraq, while not as yet hampering their efforts, the world body is stepping up its political assistance to the new Iraqi Governing Council in writing a new constitution and holding elections.

UN interim force in Lebanon gets six-month extension

Condemning all acts of violence and expressing great concern about the serious breaches and violations along the withdrawal line between Lebanon and Israel, the United Nations Security Council today extended for six months the mandate of the UN force monitoring the situation in southern Lebanon.

Iraq: first UN-assisted refugee convoy arrives back home to scenes of joy

The first United-Nations assisted return of Iraqi refugees since the fall of Saddam Hussein culminated in scenes of rejoicing in the southern city of Basra today with the arrival of 240 people who had spent the last 12 years in exile in camps in the Saudi Arabian desert.

UN-backed meeting agrees to development agenda for Palestinian territories

Development experts gathered at a United Nations-backed consultative meeting on rehabilitation in the occupied Palestinian territories have decided that next year’s Arab-International Forum should lay the groundwork for realizing the vision of a Palestinian state.

Many states want UN umbrella for Iraq but new resolution not imminent, Annan says

Many countries feel the internationalization of overall operations in Iraq under a United Nations umbrella is important, but a new Security Council resolution giving the world body a broader mandate is not imminent, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today.

First UN-assisted convoy of Iraqi refugees returns home

The first convoy of refugees returning to Iraq since the fall of the previous government left Saudi Arabia's Rafha camp today with more than 240 people in five buses, ending more than 12 years in exile, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported.

Iraq: UN envoy discusses improving human rights

Top United Nations envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello, back in Baghdad after updating the Security Council on the situation in Iraq, met with a visiting team from Human Rights Watch today to discuss ways of improving human rights in the country.

UN-backed meeting to prepare for Arab forum on Palestine rehabilitation

United Nations agencies have teamed up to organize a preparatory meeting for an international forum next year that would aim to keep the social and economic issues and needs in the occupied Palestinian territories on the agenda of the international community, in spite of the lack of stability in the region.

UN relief organizations in Iraq to take extra security measures following attacks

United Nations humanitarian organizations in Iraq are preparing to take extra security measures following the killing of two workers for international organizations earlier this week, a senior UN spokesman said in Baghdad today.

Withdrawal line between Israel and Lebanon remains calm but tense – Annan

Israel and Lebanon have by and large “exercised restraint,” resulting in a relative calm along the line of withdrawal, but tension between the two parties remains high, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in a new report that also recommends a six-month extension of the UN force monitoring the situation in southern Lebanon.