Middle East

Security Council welcomes timely, peaceful parliamentary elections in Iraq

The United Nations Security Council today welcomed the timely holding of parliamentary elections in Iraq, and, looking forward to the certification of the results by national electoral officials, called on the country’s leaders “to engage, as quickly as possible, to form a Government that represents the will and sovereignty of the Iraqi people.”

Syria: UN officials deplore ‘endless spiral of targeting civilians for tactical purposes’

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today condemned ‘in the strongest terms’ the latest attacks in Syria – which left dozens of civilians dead or wounded from mortar fire and shelling in neighborhoods in Homs and Damascus – and called on the Government and opposition groups to resist provocations that could undermine peace efforts.

Chemical watchdog announces probe into alleged chlorine gas attacks in Syria

The head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said today it will seek to “establish the facts” surrounding allegations of the use of chlorine in Syria, where it is already working jointly with the United Nations to rid the country of its chemical weapons.

Facing ‘moment of truth,’ Mid-east parties must make tough choices to salvage peace efforts – UN envoy

In the wake of Israel’s decision to break off talks with the Palestinians after a Fatah-Hamas unity deal, and amid a “volatile” situation on the ground with negative trends in the West Bank and a fragile calm in Gaza, a United Nations envoy today challenged the parties to use this “moment of truth” to reflect on the hard choices required to keep peace from slipping further away.

UN human rights chief deplores Egypt’s ‘outrageous’ mass death sentences

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights today strongly condemned the imposition of the death penalty on hundreds of people in Egypt, after mass trials that she said clearly breached international human rights law.

Upcoming national elections ‘important milestone’ for Iraq, Ban says ahead of polls

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has highlighted the importance of Wednesday’s national elections for peace and stability in Iraq and called for creating the necessary conditions to enable all citizens to participate in the polls.

Egypt: Ban alarmed by recent legal decisions which could violate human rights

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today voiced alarmed at the news that another preliminary mass death sentence has been handed down in Egypt, where more than 680 people were reportedly on trial, a topic he will raise later this week in a meeting with the Egyptian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Nabil Fahmy.

As deadline passes, UN joint mission urges Syria to complete chemical weapons removal

Nearly eight per cent of Syria's declared chemical weapons material remains on its territory and should be removed in the shortest possible timeframe, despite the difficult security situation, the head of the Joint Mission of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the United Nations today urged.

Syria: UN agency denounces killing of Palestinian refugee children

The United Nations agency assisting Palestinian refugees across the Middle East today strongly condemned the recent killing of three Palestinian refugee children in different parts of Syria, and reiterated the UN's calls on all fighters to comply with international law and protect civilians

UN envoy discusses Fatah-Hamas reconciliation deal with Palestinian President

The reconciliation deal reached by rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas will be implemented on the basis of previous commitments such as the recognition of Israel and non-violence, a senior United Nations envoy was told today.