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PM pays tribute to Sergio Vieira de Mello

PM pays tribute to Sergio Vieira de Mello

Prime Minister Helen Clark today expressed her very deep sorrow at the death of at least twenty people from the bombing of the United Nations’ headquarters in Baghdad, including Sergio Vieira de Mello, the UN Special Representative to Iraq.

“This is a terrible tragedy. I would like to express New Zealand’s very deep sorrow at the killings.

“In particular, I would like to pay tribute to Mr de Mello. He was one of the finest international civil servants. He represented the United Nations with distinction in a series of appointments, and was well known to many New Zealanders for his role in heading the UN mission in East Timor, helping guide that country to independence.

“I had the pleasure of meeting him on a number of occasions He impressed with his intelligence, professionalism, commitment to the task of making the troubled areas of the world in which he worked better and safer places.

“His death is a shocking loss and robs the United Nations of one of its finest workers.”

Helen Clark said the New Zealand army officer serving at the UN Baghdad headquarters, Major Todd Hart, had survived the attack although he had suffered a broken arm, lacerations, and shock.

“We are grateful that he is alive. He is serving our country in a difficult environment and our best wishes go to him and his family at this difficult time,” Helen Clark said.

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