Middle East

In New Year's message, top UN envoy renews support for Iraqi elections

As Iraq moves into high gear for elections in just one month's time, the top United Nations there today delivered a New Year message pledging the world body's continued support "to help foster the future peace and prosperity" of all the war-torn country's peoples.

UN goodwill ambassador celebrates Christmas with refugees in Lebanon

The film actress Angelina Jolie, a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations refugee agency, has celebrated her third Christmas in a row with refugees and agency staff in the field.

Iraq's independent electoral commission hails UN role in organizing balloting

The Board of Commissioners of Iraq's independent electoral commission today hailed the work of the approximately 30 United Nations experts currently in the country to prepare for next month's planned balloting.

UN, Iran mark first anniversary of earthquake that devastated Bam cultural area

Calling the Iranian Bam cultural landscape "an outstanding representation of the interaction of man and nature in a desert environment" the United Nations cultural agency today marked the first anniversary of the earthquake that devastated the area by formally inscribing Bam on the World Heritage List and the endangered heritage list.

Annan condemns deadly bombing outside home of Iraqi political leader

Voicing his dismay at today's deadly bombing outside the Baghdad home of an Iraqi political leader, Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged the country's people to unite so that next month's national assembly elections can be peacefully and smoothly staged.

Nearly 6,250 candidates have registered for Iraq's national assembly poll - UN

Nearly 6,250 candidates have so far registered for next month's elections to Iraq's 275-member national assembly, which will draft a constitution and appoint a new government to run the country until a presidential ballot is held at the end of the year, the United Nations mission reported today.

Iraqis have first chance in long while to reclaim their destiny - Annan

As his top envoy continued meetings with Iraqi officials in Baghdad ahead of elections scheduled for 30 January, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today that the Iraqi people "have a chance for the first time in a long, long time to take their destiny in hand, to determine their own future."

UK Prime Minister and UN envoy discuss Iraq elections in Baghdad

Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative for Iraq, Ashraf Qazi, met today in Baghdad with British Prime Minister Tony Blair to discuss the role of the United Nations in elections planned for 30 January 2005 in the turbulent country.

Annan recommits UN to help Iraq hold elections after deadly terror attacks

Secretary-General Kofi Annan today pledged anew full United Nations support for the Iraqi people in holding elections following yesterday's terror attacks that killed over 60 people, including three election workers, while in Baghdad his top envoy took the symbolic step of determining which parties would head the ballot list.

UN school shelters 600 Gaza families displaced by Israeli offensive

Following a two-day offensive by Israeli forces into the Khan Younis refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, the main United Nations agency helping Palestinian refugees has opened one of its schools to provide temporary accommodation to 600 families displaced by the fighting.