Middle East

International tribunal for Lebanon killings set to begin work next March – Ban

The international tribunal being set up to try those responsible for political killings in Lebanon, particularly the 2005 attack that killed former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, is on track to begin its work on 1 March 2009, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced on Sunday, following a meeting with Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.

Gaza: UN relief officials still lack Israeli bank notes to aid nearly 100,000 poor

United Nations refugee officials are still unable to get shekel notes into banks in Gaza, where Israel has imposed closures or restrictions on crossing points, leaving 94,000 of the poorest people without their regular cash assistance.

Education vital for achieving all other development goals, Ban tells Doha forum

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged participants at a global finance meeting in Doha to ensure that all children receive the education they need, without which countries will not be able to achieve their development targets.

In Doha, Ban urges ‘bold’ steps to prevent financial turmoil becoming human crisis

Warning of the consequences of the current financial turmoil on other key global challenges, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called for bold and effective efforts to ensure that today''s emergency does not become tomorrow''s human crisis with particularly devastating effects on the world''s poorest.

Secretary-General condemns rocket attack near UN premises in Baghdad

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has strongly condemned the rocket attack that occurred near the United Nations compound in Baghdad''s International Zone today, killed two catering staff and injuring 15 others.

Doha forum crucial to crafting global response to financial crisis – Ban

A United Nations conference set to begin tomorrow in Doha provides a vital opportunity to plan a globally coordinated response to the financial crisis to ensure the well-being of millions worldwide, especially the poor, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed today.

UN nuclear inspector calls on Syria, Israel to fully cooperate with probe

The head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency today said “it is baffling” that satellite pictures necessary for his investigation into an alleged nuclear reactor site in Syria were not available, as he called for complete cooperation from all sides.

Gender violence in Iraq threatens to undermine families and society, UN warns

The top United Nations official in Iraq has called for the urgent establishment of a national legal framework guaranteeing the protection of women, warning that continued gender violence threatens to undermine the country’s families and society.

Palestinians in Gaza paying ‘heavy price’ as conditions worsen, says UN official

The top United Nations relief official in the occupied Palestinian territory today appealed to donors to provide urgent funds to address the deteriorating humanitarian situation there, particularly in Gaza, where continued border closures in recent weeks have prevented the delivery of vital food, medicine and fuel supplies.

Continued talks between Israel and Palestinians encouraging, UN political chief says

The top United Nations political official today voiced regret that Israel and the Palestinians will probably not reach a peace agreement by the end of this year under the negotiating track launched last in the United States city of Annapolis, but noted that ongoing direct talks between the two sides are a positive sign.