Middle East

No supplies getting through as Gaza crossings remain closed – UN

No humanitarian aid, fuel or other commodities were able to get into Gaza today, as the border crossings into the area remained closed, the United Nations reported.

Ban calls for end to rocket attacks from Gaza on Israel, urges continued calm

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called for an immediate end to rocket attacks against Israel from Gaza and all other violence, and a continuation of the Egyptian-brokered calm in the area.

Talks between UN envoy and Lebanese leader centre on national dialogue, Syria

The United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon and President Michel Suleiman held talks today on a range of issues, from the holding of national dialogues and reconciliation to the “encouraging” developments regarding the country’s budding relations with Syria.

UN envoy urges ‘decisive’ push for Israeli-Palestinian peace in 2009

With the goal of reaching an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal by the end of this year out of reach, a top United Nations envoy today stressed the need to step up efforts by both sides to attain a comprehensive settlement to their decades-old conflict during the coming year.

Significant step taken for proposed referendum in Basra, says UN’s Iraq mission

Preparations are in place enabling the people of the oil-rich Iraqi province of Basra to officially demonstrate their support of a proposed referendum to form a region with some devolved power from the central Government, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) announced today.

Security Council extends probe into Lebanon killings for another two months

The Security Council today extended for a further two months the mandate of the independent probe into the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri and several other political killings in Lebanon.

Gaza crossings remain closed to fuel and aid supplies, reports UN

All crossings for goods going from Israel into the Gaza Strip, home to 1.5 million Palestinians, are closed today, the United Nations reported.

Top UN envoy discusses status issue during visit to disputed Iraqi city

The top United Nations official in Iraq held talks today with local leaders and representatives of the various communities in Kirkuk, where the world body is assisting with efforts to resolve the eventual status of the oil-rich northern city.

Stranded Sudanese refugees leave Iraq for Romania, reports UN agency

A group of 97 Sudanese refugees, mainly from the strife-torn region of Darfur, who have been stranded in a makeshift camp in the Iraqi desert since 2005, are on their way to Romania, where they hope to be resettled, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said today.

Israel’s detention of UN expert ‘unprecedented’ – rights chief

Israel’s refusal to allow a United Nations expert to transit to carry out his officially mandated functions in the occupied Palestinian territory, his detention and subsequent expulsion is “unprecedented and deeply regrettable,” the world body’s top human rights official said today.