Middle East

UN mourns Lebanon force staff member killed during Israel-Hizbollah conflict

The United Nations today held a solemn ceremony in Cyprus to mourn Augustine Bielonwu, a civilian staff member of the UN Interim Force for Lebanon (UNIFIL) who died last month during an Israeli rocket attack in Tyre.

International community must act quickly to help Lebanon rebuild, Annan’s deputy says

Warning of a “race against time” to rebuild Lebanon after the recent devastating month of conflict, the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General today urged donors to provide funds for the task, as he repeated calls for Israel to lift its air and sea blockade, saying it severely hinders relief efforts.

Security Council receives UN watchdog’s report on Iran’s nuclear activities

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today sent a new report on Iran to the United Nations Security Council, which has threatened sanctions if the country does not suspend uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities and take steps to assure the world that it is not developing nuclear arms.

Annan says Israeli blockade of Lebanon must not be a ‘collective punishment’

Warning that Israel’s continued blockade of Lebanon risks being seen as “collective punishment” of the Lebanese people, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today renewed calls for it to be lifted as he met with officials in Jordan on the latest leg of his regional tour of the Middle East.

Lebanese army deploys in more areas of the south; UN helps clear deadly ordnance

Lebanese troops today moved into more areas of the south of the country after Israeli forces withdrew, the United Nations said, as it continued to coordinate the deployment and stepped up its work to clear the masses of deadly unexploded ordnance that litter the countryside.

Meeting Olmert, Annan renews call for lifting of Israeli blockade against Lebanon

Meeting today in Jerusalem with Israel’s Prime Minister and other top officials, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan renewed calls for the immediate lifting of the blockade of Lebanon, which has now been in place for the past seven weeks, and said all sides had a responsibility to work for peace in the strife-torn region.

Israel’s ‘immoral’ use of cluster bombs in Lebanon poses major threat – UN aid chief

The top United Nations aid official today criticized Israel’s heavy use of cluster bombs in the last three days of the war with Hizbollah, describing their use as “immoral” and warning that up to 100,000 deadly bomblets still lie unexploded across vast areas of southern Lebanon where they are maiming and killing people every day.

Calling Gaza ‘ticking time-bomb,’ UN official urges aid to avoid social explosion

Warning that Gaza is a “ticking time-bomb” marked by conditions so severe a social explosion is inevitable, the United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator today called on donors scheduled to convene tomorrow in Stockholm to generously fund assistance efforts for the Palestinians.

Annan expresses support for Palestinian unity government on trip to West Bank

Secretary-General Kofi Annan today expressed support for Palestinian efforts towards forming a unity government in the occupied territory as he met President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank for talks focusing on the economic and social problems there and in Gaza.

Across southern Lebanon, UN refugee agency teams assist with returns

The United Nations refugee agency today announced that its teams are operating across southern Lebanon assisting thousands of displaced people who have been unable to return either because their homes were destroyed during the recent conflict or because of continued insecurity.