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UN Radio: Iraq's Children Traumatized By The War

Annan Concerned About Humanitarian Casualties In Iraq Conflict

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Secretary-General Kofi Annan has expressed concern about the humanitarian situation in Iraq. This follows reports that a number of civilians were killed when a missile struck a Baghdad market.

"I'm getting increasingly concerned by humanitarian casualties in this conflict. We've just heard the reports that a missile struck a market in Baghdad and I would want to remind all belligerents that they should respect international humanitarian law and take all necessary steps to protect civilians - besides they are responsible for the welfare of the civilian population in the area."

There's also been reaction from the humanitarian coordinator for Iraq who warned that attacks on civilian installations are a serious breach of humanitarian international law.

UNICEF Says Iraq's Children Traumatized By The War

UNICEF is warning that the war will have lasting effects on Iraqi children. The UN Children's Agency says many schools in Baghdad are closed and parents are afraid to let their children play outside. UNICEF's Spokesman in Amman, Jordan, Geoffrey Keele:

"We spoke to UNICEF staff in Baghdad this morning and they told us that children are suffering obvious signs of trauma. This has shown itself in continuous crying and fright at sudden noises. Obviously the bombing is having an impact beyond damage to infrastructure."

Annan Discusses Humanitarian Response With Agency Heads

lThe heads of UN funds and programmes involved in humanitarian relief were meeting with Secretary-General Kofi Annan Wednesday to discuss the United Nations response to the humanitarian crisis in Iraq. The Secretary-General reminded reporters that the UN did have some contingency plans on what it should do once the conflict began.

"So we will be reviewing the situation and I think they are all ready geared up to go back to Iraq and resume their work as soon as the situation permits and here I am referring to the military conflict. And as soon as that allows them to go in, they will go in and resume their work."

On the question of the role of the UN in a post conflict Iraq, Secretary-General Annan said that was an issue for the Security Council to decide.

Russia says Security Council not against using oil-for-food programme to meet immediate needs of Iraqis

The UN Security Council was meeting in private Wednesday to discuss what's been described as making adjustments to the "oil-for-food" programme. Russia's representative Ambassador Sergey Lavrov told reporters that the oil-for-food programme which has been suspended because of the war, was designed to help the Iraqi people withstand the burden of sanctions.

"We are not against using this programme for the immediate needs of the Iraqi people especially by deciding the fate of those contracts which are in the pipeline already and which have been signed; but we cannot at this moment go the way some people suggest - to revise the entire programme for a very long period of time - and there are some practical things which relate to the technicalities of the mandate which we are prepared to give to the Secretary-General.

Ambassador Lavrov said while everyone is prepared to use some of the proceeds from the oil-for-food programme as a humanitarian response from the Security Council, there are also legal obligations of the occupying power to look after the humanitarian needs.

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