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UN Emergency Relief Aid To Civilians In Falluja

Iraq: UN Works To Facilitate Emergency Relief Aid To Civilians In Falluja

The United Nations and its partners are working to ensure that emergency humanitarian aid reaches vulnerable groups in Falluja, Iraq, which has been the scene of deadly violence in recent days.

Together with the country's authorities, the Iraqi Red Crescent Society, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the UN is providing much-needed medical supplies like oxygen, blood bags and emergency health kits as well as a variety of other items.

"Humanitarian access to affected civilians, and access of those civilians in need to basic supplies and services are of major concern," UN envoy Ross Mountain said today in Amman, Jordan.

"Aid workers, NGOs and other humanitarian organizations must be able to safely reach populations in distress, including those who require urgent medical assistance," he added.

Echoing concerns voiced recently by Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Mr. Mountain condemned recent kidnappings of aid workers and called for their immediate release. He also underlined the importance of taking all necessary measures to protect civilians - a requirement under international humanitarian law.

Meanwhile, the Secretary-General's Special Adviser, Lakhdar Brahimi, and his team have been continuing their work soliciting the views of a broad cross-section of Iraqis on how best to deal with the transition to sovereignty, set for the end of June, based on a framework acceptable to all.

Mr. Brahimi met today with Adnan Pachachi, a member of the Governing Council and head of its sub-committee on elections. He also met with this month's President of the Governing Council, Massoud Barzani, as well as with a group of 10 people representing the Iraqi Institute for Development and Democracy, who presented him with a paper on the transfer of sovereignty to the Iraqis.

Yesterday the team met with another Governing Council member, Jalal Talabani, and with a delegation from the Muslim Clerics Association.

On Saturday, the team went to Mosul, where it met with civic, religious and political leaders, tribal chiefs and members of the local council.

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