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UN bombing cowardly and tragic

UN bombing cowardly and tragic

As reports come to hand today of the terrorist outrage perpetrated on the UN headquarters in Baghdad, resulting in death or injury to well over one hundred UN workers, Minister of Defence Mark Burton is thankful that the injuries sustained by Major Todd Hart are not life threatening.

Major Hart, who was working with the UN de-mining team, sustained two broken arms, lacerations and shock.

Mark Burton is also grieving the loss of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Sergio Vieira de Mello, who was the UN Special Representative in Iraq.

“New Zealand’s significant role in East Timor brought us into close working contact with Sergio Vieira de Mello. He was, unquestionably, one of the finest international diplomats in the world. I mourn with his family, and the families and loved ones of all the victims of this cowardly attack.

“Major Todd Hart was injured while doing an important job, working with the UN to help remove one of the greatest dangers faced by the Iraqi people. We are thankful that he is alive, has been evacuated, and has been able to speak directly to his family,” said Mark Burton.

“No deployment to such a challenging environment is without risk. However, this horrific attack on the men and women working for the UN to bring humanitarian and reconstruction aid to post-war Iraq is shocking and tragic.

“I know that all New Zealand Defence Force personnel join with me and all New Zealanders in sending their deepest sympathies to the families of all those who were killed or injured.”

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