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Accountability Report On UN Security In Iraq Nears

Annan Set To Receive Accountability Report On UN Security In Iraq

Secretary-General Kofi Annan is set to receive today the report of an expert team investigating what went wrong with United Nations security procedures prior to the deadly terrorist attack last August against the UN office in Baghdad.

The Secretary-General named a four-person panel last November to carry out a comprehensive study of the role of all individuals and UN entities involved in UN security in Iraq following a separate, independent investigation into the 19 August attack, which killed 22 people, including top envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello.

"Once the report is in the hands of the Secretary-General it will be up to him to take administrative or disciplinary action as he deems appropriate," Mr. Annan's spokesman, Fred Eckhard, said at a press briefing.

The Security in Iraq Accountability Panel's report is based on the study of relevant internal documents and interviews with more than 140 people, some of who were debriefed more than once, Mr. Eckhard added.

Last October, an independent probe headed by former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari concluded that "the current security management system is dysfunctional" and that "the UN security system failed adequately to analyze and utilize information made available to the system on threats against UN staff and premises."

"The security awareness within the country team did not match the hostile environment. The observance and implementation of security regulations and procedures were sloppy and non-compliance with security rules commonplace," the panel added.

Mr. Eckhard said, “What now follows is for internal purposes: a detailed investigation of what happened, who took what decisions when, what procedures the United Nations followed. All of this [is] for the administrative purpose of correcting any procedures that need correcting and, if necessary, replacing some people responsible.”

Meanwhile, the Secretary-General was <"http://www.un.org/apps/sg/offthecuff.asp?nid=554">asked this morning upon arriving at UN Headquarters in New York whether yesterday's terror attacks in Iraq would delay the arrival of UN teams. "I hope not," he said. "We are still hoping to go back to assist the Iraqis."

Calling the killings "tragic," he voiced sympathy for the families of the victims while stressing that the incidents "will not impede us from our determination to help."


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