UN Radio: UN Security Systems Dysfunctional
UN Radio: UN Security Systems Dysfunctional - Report
Iraqi Bombing Panel Finds UN Security Systems Dysfunctional
An independent inquiry into the security situation at the time of the attack on the UN headquarters in Baghdad found that the attack probably could not have been prevented, but that the death and casualty toll was too high. Twenty-two people lost their lives and 150 were injured in the August 19th suicide bombing. The report cites mismanagement and a desire to return quickly to Iraq after the war, before a full security analysis was conducted, combined with a failure to act on security alerts. Former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, appointed by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to lead the investigation presented the report's findings:
"We who have worked for the UN feel that we should be protected by the UN symbol and the UN Flag, but that, unfortunately, is not the case. So this is a wake-up call to my mind that the security has to be looked at very, very hard before any people are sent."
Secretary-General to Open Madrid Donor Conference on Iraq Reconstruction
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan will deliver the opening speech at an international donors' conference for the reconstruction of Iraq in Madrid on Thursday. Also attending the meeting of some 60 countries will be World Bank President James Wolfensohn, who will offer aid to Iraq in the range of 3 to 5 billion US dollars over a five-year period. The World Bank has expressed support for a proposed International Reconstruction Fund Facility for Iraq to be presented at the donor's conference. According to the Bank, the proposed Facility will comprise of two independent trust funds, one managed by the World Bank and the other by the UN.
General Assembly Demands that Israel Stop Construction and Tear Down Existing Security Barrier
The UN General Assembly has overwhelmingly approved a resolution demanding that Israel stop and reverse construction of a security barrier in the West Bank. The Assembly voted on Tuesday with 144 in favor, 4 against and 12 abstentions. The resolution expressed the Assembly's concern that the wall being built by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territory could prejudice future negotiations under the Road Map peace plan and would cause further humanitarian hardship to the Palestinians. The representative of Italy, Marcello Spatafora, introduced the text revised by the European Union from an earlier draft by the Arab League:
"The EU presentation of the text reflects our determination to work for progress towards a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East based on the vision of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.""
Even though the text was revised to add a condemnation of Palestinian suicide bombings, including the recent bomb attack in the Gaza Strip, which killed three American security officers, the resolution was still opposed by Israel and the United States. The United States vetoed a similar resolution in the Security Council last week, calling it one-sided. There is no veto in the General Assembly and its resolutions are not legally binding.
Media Seminar in Seville Holds Constructive Dialogue on Middle East Peace Process
The International Media Seminar on Peace in the Middle East taking place in Seville, Spain has reaffirmed the usefulness of dialogue and mutual understanding between the parties to the conflict in the region. The two-day meeting which concludes Wednesday is sponsored by the UN Department of Public Information. It has brought together over 40 present and former policy-makers from Israel and the Palestinian National Authority, international experts and UN officials. The UN Special Co-ordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Terje Roed-Larsen, delivered the keynote address and moderated today's sessions which focused on the implementation of the Road Map peace plan:
"I believe there is a very good and constructive dialogue going on in Seville right now, which I think can be helpful to the general climate, moving us back to the table in a possible future peace process."
15 Million Children to be Immunized Against Polio in Nigeria to Stop Outbreak
outbreak of polio in Nigeria is spreading to neighboring
countries, putting 15 million children at risk. The World
Health Organization and UNICEF announced they are starting a
massive immunization campaign across five countries in West
and Central Africa. In just 3 days every child in Benin,
Burkina Faso, Ghana, Niger and Togo should receive the polio