Middle East

Iraq: top UN envoy speaks out against attacks on journalists

Strongly condemning attacks against media representatives in Iraq, a top United Nations envoy today deplored the assassination of a journalist in the war-torn nation.

Lebanon: European mariners take the wheel of UN coastal fleet

A European naval group today took command of United Nations peacekeeping’s first-ever maritime task force (MTF), which was deployed off the coast of Lebanon in 2006 to curtail arms smuggling following that year’s war between Israel and Hizbollah.

Fuel allowed into Gaza, but other crossings still closed, say UN officials

One border crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip was opened for fuel today, allowing 400,000 litres to enter Gaza, but the three crossings for humanitarian and commercial goods remain closed, the Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO) reported.

Middle East: Ban Ki-moon ‘deeply concerned’ at rising violence, loss of life

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed deep concern at the recent escalation of violence in southern Israel and Gaza, including the loss of civilian life resulting from rocket fire by Hamas and air strikes by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF).

UN envoy deplores 'appalling' attacks on pilgrims en route to Iraqi holy city

The top United Nations official in Iraq has strongly condemned the suicide attacks which earlier this week left dozens of people dead and wounded as they headed to the holy city of Karbala.

Middle East peace process needs changes on the ground to succeed – UN envoy

The Annapolis peace process deserves continued support but it will only be sustained if there are real changes on the ground, particularly in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip, the senior United Nations envoy on the Middle East told the Security Council today.

Iraq: Top UN envoy welcomes al-Sadr ceasefire extension

The United Nations’ top envoy to Iraq today welcomed the decision of Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr to prolong the suspension of the armed activities of his Jaysh ul Mehdi militia, also known as the Mahdi Army.

UN agency rebuilds homes of 18,000 Lebanese air-raid victims

The United Nations shelter agency said today that it has completed the repair of thousands of buildings in Lebanon that provide homes to some 18,200 people and which were hit by Israeli air raids during the fierce war with Hizbollah in mid-2006.

Ban Ki-moon calls for 'utmost restraint' in Turkey-Iraq border actions

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed concern today over the latest escalation of tension along the Turkish-Iraqi border, appealing for “utmost restraint” in actions there and for respect of the border between the two countries.

Outstanding issues remain for Iran, despite progress – UN atomic watchdog chief

The head of the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said today that it has made “quite good progress” in clarifying unresolved issues over Iran's past nuclear programme, but several hurdles remain.