Middle East

Annan condemns hostage-taking after 2 Pakistanis killed in Iraq

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today reiterated his condemnation of all hostage-takings and acts of violence against innocent civilians following the killing of two Pakistani nationals Thursday in Iraq.

UN agency's pilot project seeks to reverse Palestinian agricultural decline

In a bid to reverse a three-year-long decline in food security in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today announced a pilot project to help Palestinian farmers, with activities ranging from replanting orchards to installing irrigation systems to rehabilitating rangeland.

Mandate of UN force in Lebanon extended another 6 months

The Security Council today extended the mandate of the United Nations peacekeeping operation in Lebanon, backing the mission’s efforts to maintain a ceasefire along the line of withdrawal where Hezbollah and Israeli military forces have been engaging in a recent flurry of deadly exchanges.

Insecurity prompts relocation of UN staff out of Gaza but Palestinians still get aid

Responding to prevailing insecurity in Gaza, the head of the main UN agency helping Palestine refugees has relocated some staff out the area while pledging today that the move will not hamper the provision of aid or services to those in need.

UN experts urge Iran to observe human rights norms in case of dead journalist

Voicing “profound concern” over the case of a journalist who died in Iran after reportedly being beaten, three United Nations human rights specialists today called on the government to comply with humanitarian norms, warning that failure to ensure due process set the ground for similar abuses in the future.

Iraq: Annan stresses value of inclusive national conference

Secretary-General Kofi Annan is advocating an inclusive and transparent national conference in Iraq, a United Nations spokesperson said today.

Board overseeing Iraq oil revenues briefs Security Council

The United Nations Security Council was today briefed in closed-door consultations on the report of the international oversight body for the Development Fund for Iraq (DFI), which was set up last year to take over management of the country's petroleum revenues.

Iraq: UN announces multi-million dollar plan to restore 'Garden of Eden' marshes

The United Nations today announced an $11 million project to help restore the marshlands of southern Iraq, considered by some to be the site of the Biblical Garden of Eden, after they were massively damaged by dams on the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and a vast drainage operation carried out by the ousted regime of Saddam Hussein.

Iraq must work to protect and promote women's rights, UN expert panel says

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women is preparing a statement urging the new Iraqi authorities to ensure gender equality throughout the process of political transition and reconstruction, its chairperson said today at United Nations Headquarters in New York.

UN role in Iraq is to support its people, Annan and his new envoy say

Emphasizing the importance of security for United Nations activities in Iraq, Secretary-General Kofi Annan and his newly-appointed senior envoy to the country, Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, said today this work will focus on supporting national efforts to achieve the political transition.