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UN Radio: Explosion at UN Baghdad Leaves 14 Dead

UN Radio: Explosion at UN Building in Baghdad Leaves 14 Dead

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  • Special Report: Explosion at UN Building in Baghdad Leaves 14 Dead and Scores Injured
  • Top UN Envoy Sergio De Mello Killed in Terrorist Blast in Baghdad

    Secretary-General Kofi Annan has just announced that the top official in Iraq Sergio Vieira de Mello has been killed in this morning's terrorist attack in Baghdad. Mr. De Mello was appointed Special Representative in Iraq in late May in what was to be a four-month appointment. At the press conference announcing his appointment, Mr. De Mello made it clear what would be his top priority in Iraq.

    "I will do my best, on behalf of the Secretary-General and the Security Council to make sure that the interests of the Iraqi people come first."

    Prior to his appointment as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in September 2002, Mr. Vieira de Mello served as the United Nations Transitional Administrator in East Timor. In 1998 Mr. Vieira de Mello served at headquarters as Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Co-ordinator for a year and a half. He later served as Special Representative of the Secretary General in Kosovo June-July 1999. Mr. Vieira de Mello served at the Office of High Commissioner for Refugees since 1969 in various capacities including as Assistant High Commissioner for Refugees in January 1996.

    Huge Bomb Blast Hits UN Headquarters in Iraq

    A massive explosion rocked the UN headquarters in Baghdad today killing more than 14 people.

    "I was in the UN headquarters here, called the Canal hotel, when there was a huge shattering explosion and I was working on the computer and the blast, and the windows blew the woodwork, everything came out of the roof."

    Salim Lone is the Director of Communications at the UN mission in Baghdad.

    "I ran into the corridor. Meanwhile everybody was severely wounded and very badly hurt, bleeding -- people with blood on their face."

    Besides the 14 confirmed dead including UN international staff, scores of people have been injured.

    Annan Shocked and Dismayed by Terrorist Attack

    Secretary-General Kofi Annan has expressed shock and dismay at today's attack. UN Spokesman Fred Eckhard says the Secretary-General hopes to see those who perpetrated "this outrage brought to justice".

    "Nothing can excuse this act of unprovoked and murderous violence against men and women who went to Iraq for one purpose only: to help the Iraqi people recover their independence and sovereignty, and to rebuild their country as fast as possible, under leaders of their own choosing."

    The spokesman says the Secretary-General hopes to see Iraq restored to peace, security and full independence as soon as possible, adding that the United Nations will make every effort to bring that about. The Secretary-General has cancelled the remainder of his vacation and would return to UN headquarters Wednesday.

    UN Security Council Condemns Terrorist Attack on UN Compound

    Members of the UN Security Council have expressed shock at the "terrorist criminal attack" against the UN headquarters in Baghdad. In a statement, Council President Deputy Ambassador Fayssal Mekdad of Syria said the Council condemns the terrorist attack in the strongest terms:

    "Members of the Council reaffirmed that this horrible attack that is aimed at undermining the vital role of the United Nations in Iraq will not affect their determination and members of the Council will stay united against such attacks and to help the Iraqi people restore peace and stability in their country."

    Mexico Says Act of Terrorism Indicates that Terrorism Respects No Boundaries

    Reaction from UN member states to Tuesday's terrorist attack against the UN compound in Baghdad has been quick. Mexico's representative Ambassador Aguilar Zinser called for a response that shows the strength and unity of the United Nations.

    "Mexico deplores this abominable act of terrorism, that has hit the United Nations in Iraq. And it takes the opportunity to stress the need for unity -- unity of purpose of the United Nations in Iraq, of the international community and unity of action in the Security Council." Pakistan Regrets The UN Has Been Targeted

    Pakistan says it is most regrettable that the United Nations has been targeted. Ambassador Munir Akram says there is a need to take additional measures for the security of the United Nations personnel.

    "But I believe at the same time we need to make a greater effort to convince the Iraqi people that the United Nations is acting in their welfare and for their welfare and that we are a presence that is designed to help them come back to normal."

    Israel Says Vicious Attack Shows Indiscriminate Actions of Terrorists

    Israel expressed deep sorrow to the United Nations. Ambassador Dan Gillerman says Israel understands the terror better than most.

    "I feel that what we are witnessing today is the ultimate testimony to the fact that terrorism is indiscriminate and global. There is no more global and international institution in the world than the United Nations and a vicious attack such as this on the United Nations illustrates how indiscriminate those people are."

    UN Vows to Continue Working in Baghdad

    And finally, what does today's terrorist attack against the UN mean for the organization? Secretary-General Kofi Anan has vowed the United Nations would stay on the job in Baghdad. And the Security Council stressed that the attack would not deter the international community from carrying out its mission to rebuild postwar Iraq.

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