Middle East

Security Council stresses need to ‘intensify efforts’ to bring peace to the Middle East

Efforts to bring peace to the Middle East must be intensified, emergency assistance should be provided to Palestinians living in the Occupied Territories and the goal of Israel and Palestine “living side-by-side in peace and security,” should be upheld, the Security Council said today.

Noting progress in Lebanon, Security Council warns of threats and challenges

Welcoming the progress so far in implementing and monitoring the cessation of hostilities in southern Lebanon, the Security Council today voiced concern at reports of illegal movements of arms into the country, Israeli violations of Lebanese air space and the continuing presence of “very high numbers of unexploded ordnance” in the affected area.

Annan calls on donors to make up for shortfall in UN funds for Palestinian refugees

Secretary-General Kofi Annan today called on international donors to make up “the current, worrying shortfall” in the budget of the United Nations agency that tends to the needs of millions of Palestinian refugees, with an operational deficit of over $100 million already looming.

As ‘major catastrophe’ looms over Iraq, UN envoy urges regional approach to peace

With Iraq at the brink of civil war, some 5,000 people dying each month and a major humanitarian catastrophe looming, the senior United Nations envoy to the country today said the region and the international community must come together in support of a solution.

Lack of Israeli cooperation prevents UN fact-finding mission to Beit Hanoun

Israel’s lack of cooperation has prevented a fact-finding mission from the United Nations Human Rights Council from visiting Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, where an Israeli attack last month killed 19 Palestinian civilians, the head of the team, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu, said today.

Secretary-General laments slow progress on issue of Kuwaitis missing since 1990 Iraq war

While acknowledging the security obstacles in war-ravaged Iraq that are stalling progress on recovering the remains of Kuwaiti and other nationals missing since the country’s 1990 war, Secretary-General Kofi Annan has voiced hope that the issue can soon be brought to a satisfactory close.

Lebanon: UN commander holds more talks on securing final Israeli withdrawal

The head of the United Nations peacekeeping force in Lebanon today held yet further “productive” talks with senior Lebanese and Israeli officers aimed at securing Israel’s full withdrawal from the last position it occupies in the south of the country after the war with Hizbollah earlier this year.

Prospects of all-out civil war in Iraq much more real than three months ago, Annan warns

The prospects of all-out civil war in Iraq and even a regional conflict have become much more real over the past three months as sectarian violence, insurgent and terrorist attacks, and criminal activities have risen significantly, according to the latest United Nations report on the war-torn country released today.

Lebanon's security has stabilized but Israeli overflights continue, Annan reports

Security in Lebanon has stabilized in recent months but Israeli overflights continue, Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in his latest update on the United Nations Interim Force in the country (UNIFIL), where arms caches have also been discovered in the peacekeeping mission’s area of operation.

Gender equality in Arab world critical for progress and prosperity, UN report warns

Women in the Arab world are still denied equality of opportunity, although their disempowerment is a critical factor crippling the Arab nations’ quest to return to the first rank of global leaders in commerce, learning and culture, according to a new United Nations-sponsored report released today.