Middle East

UN Population Fund sets up office to promote health in Gulf region

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has set up its first sub-regional office to serve the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – providing scientific and technical assistance to improve social, health and cultural welfare.

UN rushes experts to assess damage in quake-struck Iran

The United Nations is sending an inter-agency assessment team to Iran after an overnight earthquake killed or injured hundreds and is ready provide any aid that may been needed and to mobilize international assistance, officials of the world body said today.

Israeli disengagement from Gaza environmentally clean, can serve as model – UN

Israel’s disengagement from Gaza last year was by and large environmentally clean, providing important lessons for possible further disengagements in the West Bank and offering a potential bridge-building element in a region torn by conflict, according to a United Nations report released today.

Intransigence of Hamas Government will affect aid: UN, Middle East partners

The refusal of the Hamas-led Palestinian Government to commit to non-violence, recognition of Israel and other principles will inevitably have an effect on direct assistance to it, the Middle East diplomatic Quartet made up of the United Nations, United States, European Union and Russia said today.

Middle East parties must prevent crises in Palestinian territories: UN official

Recognizing serious differences between Israel and the Palestinian Authority as they transition to new governments, a United Nations political official today called on both sides to keep the plight of residents of Gaza and the West Bank from deteriorating, as he briefed the Security Council on developments in the Middle East.

Annan hails UN Security Council call on Iran to suspend nuclear activities

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today he hoped that Iran would heed yesterday’s Security Council statement calling upon the Tehran Government to suspend all uranium enrichment-related and reprocessing activities in an effort to guarantee that its nuclear programme is for exclusively peaceful purposes.

Lebanese journalist who survived car bomb attack awarded UN press prize

A Lebanese journalist who lost one of her hands and her left leg in a car bomb attack last September was today named the winner of a top United Nations prize celebrating freedom of the press.

36,000 Pakistani quake victims have already left relief camps for home, UN says

The first relief camps in Pakistan’s quake zone have been emptied after more than 36,000 people left for their homes as part of the return process that started earlier this month with the end of winter, according to the United Nations refugee agency, the lead agency for camp management after last October’s disaster.

Security Council asks Annan to start talks on tribunal for Hariri assassination

The creation of a tribunal to try those responsible for last year’s assassination of Lebanon’s Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and others took a step forward today as the Security Council unanimously voted to ask Secretary-General Kofi Annan to consult with the country’s Government on the matter – a move immediately welcomed by an official from Beirut.

Annan congratulates Israel’s Acting Prime Minister on election win

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today congratulated Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel and his Kadima Party on winning the highest number of seats in yesterday’s general election, encouraging him to actively pursue Middle East peace.