Ban Ki-moon, Israeli official stress importance of upcoming Middle East meeting

Next month’s United States-sponsored international meeting will be critical to the Middle East peace process, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Israeli Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Ehud Barak emphasized today during talks at United Nations Headquarters in New York.

Secretary-General lauds Israeli-Hizbollah exchange of humanitarian gestures

Welcoming the exchange of humanitarian gestures by Israel and Hizbollah mediated by his facilitator, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today voiced hope that this will create momentum to push both sides to comply with the key humanitarian demands of Security Council resolution 1701, which ended last year’s war in Lebanon.

‘Calculated risks’ crucial in pushing Middle East peace process forward – UN official

The situation on the ground in the Middle East is volatile and “calculated risks” are necessary to achieve peace, the top United Nations political official told the Security Council today, ahead of a series of high-level meetings to be held this weekend.

Middle East: UN envoy voices optimism on recent political developments

The United Nations Middle East envoy today voiced optimism on recent political developments, most notably the re-engagement of the international community and Israel with the Government of Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

Middle East: Ban Ki-moon welcomes US President’s proposal for international meeting

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed United States President George W. Bush’s proposal for an international meeting on the Middle East this autumn.

Ban Ki-moon to attend Middle East Quartet meeting next week

The Middle East Quartet, the international diplomatic grouping that includes the United Nations, will meet in Lisbon next Thursday to assess the latest developments in the region and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will attend the gathering, his spokesperson announced today.

UN rights expert urges immediate release of BBC reporter Alan Johnston

An independent United Nations human rights expert today called for the immediate release of BBC reporter Alan Johnston, who was abducted in Gaza City on 12 March.

Former UK leader Tony Blair named new Quartet Representative

Following discussions among the Principals, the Middle East diplomatic Quartet – comprising the United Nations, European Union, Russian Federation and United States – today announced the appointment of former United Kingdom leader Tony Blair as its Representative.

Middle East: UN envoy voices concern on ‘highly volatile’ region

Hamas’ violent seizure of de facto political authority in Gaza, the demise of the Palestinian National Unity Government and the declaration of a state of emergency by President Mahmoud Abbas have created new political realities and worrying conditions across the occupied Palestinian territory, the United Nations Middle East envoy warned today.

Secretary-General condemns rocket attack from Lebanon on Israeli town

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today strongly deplored the rocket attack launched from southern Lebanon at the northern Israeli town of Kiryat Shmona, calling it the most the serious violation of the Blue Line since the end of last year’s war in the region.