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Need For Security To Enable UN Return To Iraq


Need For Security To Enable UN Return To Iraq

In the face of two major deadly car bomb explosions in Iraq in the last two days, Secretary-General Kofi Annan has again stressed the need for security to enable the United Nations to return to the country even as a UN team is on the ground there now assessing the feasibility of holding direct elections by 30 June.

“We need to have a secure environment to be able to go back and I’m not sure we have it yet,” Mr. Annan said when asked about the recent bombings at the opening of the Trygve Lie Gallery, named after the UN’s first Secretary-General, in New York last night.

“Obviously we’re going to remain alert, we’re going to keep our eyes open and analyze the situation vis-à-vis security before we take any decision. But this is not encouraging, I mean what happened today,” he added. “I have always maintained that security was important for my staff to return. Our activities are today constrained by the security environment.”

Mr. Annan withdrew most international staff from Iraq after the 19 August bombing of UN headquarters in Baghdad that killed his Special Representative, Sergio Vieira de Mello, and 21 other people.

He sent a team headed by Special Adviser Lakhdar Brahimi back to Iraq at the end of last week to consult with a wide spectrum of Iraqis and the United States-led Coalition Provision Authority (CPA) on the feasibility of holding elections before the return of sovereignty at the end of June, as well as on other alternatives.

On Monday Mr. Annan said he hoped to reach a decision on the issue before the end of the month, adding that the work of the team, which is expected to stay in the country for about a week, “is going extremely well.”

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