Middle East

Hamas choices will shape Middle East future, top UN envoy says

Welcoming the decision of the European Union (EU) to provide emergency assistance to the Palestinian Authority, the United Nations top envoy for Middle East peace said today that the next choices that Hamas makes are the single most important variables in the future of the region.

UNESCO pleads for halt to attacks on journalists in Iraq

Saying he was “appalled” by the kidnapping and murder of a three-person crew from Al Arabiya television in Iraq last week, the head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has called for a halt to attacks on journalists, terming them an essential element in establishing democracy.

Iraq: UN reiterates readiness to help rebuild damaged religious sites

The United Nations today confirmed its support for the Iraqi initiative to rebuild the Shiite Shrine of Imam Ali Al-Hadi bombed last week as well as other damaged religious sites in the country.

Angry exchange of extremists must be replaced by still voice of calm – Annan

Pointing out that Islam and the West are not inherently contradictory or monolithic, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan in Doha, Qatar, today called for replacing the loud shouts of extremists with the calm voice of reason.

Reacting to latest Middle East violence, Annan urges protection of civilians

Voicing concern about stepped up violence in the Middle East, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has repeated his call on all parties to respect international law and ensure the protection of civilians.

UN’s top Iraq envoy decries destruction of shrines, urges national unity

In a strongly worded statement aimed at quelling violence in Iraq, the senior United Nations envoy to that country today decried recent sectarian attacks and urged a united front against those who are instigating them.

Annan joins with Islamic, Arab and other leaders to urge restraint over offensive cartoons

Reacting to the furor spawned by the publication of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed widely considered to be offensive, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan in Doha, Qatar, today joined his voice with key Arab and Muslim leaders to urge restraint and to pledge action to foster tolerance.

Attacks on Iraqi religious sites ‘an outrage for all of humanity’ – UNESCO chief

The head of the United Nations organization entrusted with preserving the world’s historical, spiritual and cultural heritage has condemned the destruction of a Shiite shrine and other mosques and churches in Iraq as “an outrage for all of humanity.”

Lebanon: UN envoy supports start of national dialogue to strengthen State control

A top United Nations envoy told the Speaker of the Lebanese Parliament that he supported national dialogue as a way to accomplish the disbanding of foreign and domestic militias in the country and meet other Security Council requirements.

UN agency aiding Palestinians says Israeli forces left behind damage in schools

The main United Nations agency helping Palestinian refugees reported today that Israeli forces left significant damage behind after occupying two schools in the Balata refugee camp in the West Bank town of Nablus earlier this week.