Middle East

UN seeks funds for Palestine refugees facing unprecedented economic collapse

The head of the main United Nations agency providing relief to Palestine refugees appealed today for emergency funds needed to cope with an unprecedented economic collapse in the West Bank and Gaza.

UN Middle East envoy says current violence is tragic and futile, urges settlement

The United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East peace process today condemned recent violence in the area and stressed that an end to the crisis would require both political progress and efforts to improve conditions facing the Palestinians.

Iraq: In reversal, Security Council frees more humanitarian contracts than it holds

Reversing a trend, the Security Council committee monitoring the sanctions against Baghdad has released more humanitarian contracts under the oil-for-food programme than it has placed on hold, the office running the effort announced today.

Lebanon: UN envoy meets foreign minister on plans to reconfigure UN mission

A United Nations envoy in Lebanon today held "cordial and friendly" discussions with Lebanese Foreign Minister Mahmoud Hammoud, who received from the UN official a copy of the Secretary-General Kofi Annan's latest report on the UN mission in the country (UNIFIL).

Annan submits plan to reconfigure UN Interim Force in Lebanon

Secretary-General Kofi Annan today submitted recommendations to the Security Council for reconfiguring the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) to bring it in line with prevailing conditions and allow for greater mobility.

UN agency to release first ever 'Human Development Report' on Arab world

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) announced today that it plans to publish the first ever Human Development Report for the Arab region, focusing on the quality of life in 22 countries.

Annan says Israeli steps to ease conditions for Palestinians would be encouraging

Secretary-General Kofi Annan today said it would be "very encouraging" if Israel were to take measures to relieve pressure on the population of the Palestinian Territories.

Iraq earns additional €354 million under UN's oil-for-food scheme

Iraq has earned an additional €354 million (euros) under the United Nations oil-for-food programme, which allows Baghdad to export its petroleum and use a portion of the revenues to purchase humanitarian relief.

Annan urges all parties to Middle East crisis to help end tragedy

Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today in New York that the Middle East region was facing a "major crisis" and stressed that all the parties involved must work together to help "in ending the tragedy and getting back to the table."

UN symposium examines challenges facing children in Arab world

A four-day United Nations symposium on children's rights wrapped up today in Beirut with a call on Arab countries to reinforce policies ensuring young people's rights to development and social welfare.