Middle East

Departure of US forces from Iraq a chance to foster a better future – Ban

The completion of the withdrawal of United States troops from Iraq opens a new chapter in the country’s recent history, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today, adding that he strongly believes it is an opportunity for Iraqi leaders to demonstrate their capacity to steer the nation towards a better future.

UNICEF welcomes Israel’s release of Palestinian child detainees

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) welcomed the release of 55 Palestinian child detainees by Israel yesterday as part of a prisoner swap deal struck two months ago, and said it looked forward to more advancements on this issue.

General Assembly urges Syria to implement Arab League plan to end violence

United Nations Member States today called on Syrian authorities to immediately implement the plan of action proposed by the League of Arab States to resolve the crisis that has engulfed the country since a public uprising began near the start of the year.

UN expert urges broader freedom of expression in Israel, occupied Palestinian territory

An independent United Nations human rights expert has urged authorities in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory to lift restrictions to freedom of expression, stressing that these are curbing minority views and dissenting opinions, and preventing journalists and human rights defenders from reporting on rights violations.

General Assembly voices concern over Iranian human rights record

United Nations Member States today expressed deep concern at reports of human rights violations in Iran, including torture, the use of cruel punishments such as flogging and amputations and “pervasive gender inequality and violence against women,” and called on Tehran to strengthen its national human rights institutions.

UN-backed international centre for women in arts to open in Jordan

The “genius of women artists from around the world” will be the main focus of the United Nations-backed International Centre for Women Artists (ICWA), a museum and arts education project that will open in Jordan next year.

Yemen’s new Government taking steps to restore peace and stability – UN envoy

Yemen’s new Government has taken steps to restore peace and stability in the country, the United Nations special envoy for the country said today, explaining that the new measures include instructions that roadblocks be removed, soldiers return to their barracks and militias go back to their villages.

Security Council calls for greater Iraqi efforts to resolve post-invasion issues with Kuwait

Security Council members today called on Iraq to intensify its efforts to clarify the whereabouts of Kuwait’s national archives, which disappeared during Iraq’s 1990 invasion of the country.

UN and diplomatic partners reiterate call for resumption of Middle East talks

The United Nations and its diplomatic partners in the search for Middle East peace today underlined their appeal to Israel and the Palestinians to create an atmosphere conducive to the resumption of stalled peace talks and urged both parties to refrain from provocative actions.

Prosecutor of UN-backed Lebanon tribunal to step down at end of term

The Prosecutor of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), created to try those alleged responsible for the 2005 assassination of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri, has informed Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that he will not seek a second term for health reasons, the tribunal reported today.