Middle East

Israel uses excessive force and annexation in Palestinian territories – UN report

Israel is using excessive force in the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT), violating human rights in the name of counter-terrorism, and its building of a “separation wall” and expansion of settlements bear the hallmarks of annexation and illegal “conquest,” according to a United Nations human rights report released today.

Iraqi artists honour UN bombing victims at end of Muslim mourning period

To mark the official end of the mourning period in the Muslim tradition, exactly 40 days after the 19 August terrorist bombing on the UN compound in Baghdad, a group of young Iraqi artists opened an art show at the capital's exhibition centre today.

Insecurity, tardiness deal blow to phasing out of UN food programme in Iraq

The terrorist bombing of United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, the resulting drastic reduction in international staff and tardy action by the United States-run Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) have dealt a major blow to the timetable for ending the Oil-for-Food programme that fed most Iraqis during Saddam Hussein's regime, the UN official in charge of the operation said today.

'Quartet' calls on Israel, Palestinians to do more to revive Middle East peace plan

Voicing “great concern” at recent Israeli and Palestinian attacks that have stalled the Middle East peace process, a high-level meeting of the diplomatic Quartet of the United Nations, United States, Russian Federation and European Union (EU) today called on both sides to take immediate action to revive the so-called Road Map peace plan.

Annan temporarily redeploys UN international staff from Iraq over insecurity

Secretary-General Kofi Annan today ordered a temporary redeployment of United Nations international staff from Iraq in a downsizing effort prompted by the security situation after last month's terrorist attack in Baghdad that killed 22 people, including top envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello.

Powell sees 'convergence' on new Security Council resolution on Iraq

United States Secretary of State Colin Powell said today that he and the other four permanent members of the United Nations Security Council have reached "some convergence" of opinions on a new resolution on Iraq, adding that the talks also covered the UN's role in the political process and how it should be reflected in a new text.

Killing of Iraqi Council member ‘inexcusable’ Annan says

The shooting death of Iraqi Governing Council member Akila al-Hashemi was "inexcusable" and likely to slow progress towards a representative government in Iraq, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today.

UN agency protests against Israeli raid on West Bank hospital

The main United Nations relief agency for Palestinian refugees today protested to Israel over its raid on a UN-run hospital in the West Bank town of Qalqilya, calling it a “serious breach” of international law and charging that Israeli troops made medical staff leave their patients and lie on the hospital floor.

Diplomatic Quartet to meet on Middle East Road Map peace plan on Friday

In an effort to put the Middle East peace process back on track after weeks of attack and counter-attack by the Israeli and Palestinian sides, the so-called diplomatic Quartet of the United Nations, United States, Russia and European Union (EU) will meet on Friday at the principals level, a UN spokesman said today.

Nearly half of Iraqi needs aid despite better harvests – UN report

Nearly half of the 26.3 million Iraqis live in poverty and need assistance as chronic malnutrition persists despite a better cereal harvest this year and the lifting of economic sanctions, according to a report released today by two United Nations agencies.