Global Policy Forum

Security Council Urges Countries to Contribute Forces to Protect UN in Iraq

UN News
October 1, 2004

The Security Council today welcomed proposals by Secretary-General Kofi Annan regarding security arrangements for the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI)and urged Members States to contribute to the effort.

The safety of UN personnel and premises has been a top issue surrounding the return of the United Nations to Iraq ever since two bomb attacks against the world body's offices in Baghdad last year led to the eventual withdrawal of all international staff.

The first blast on 19 August 2003 killed 22 people, including the Secretary-General's Special Representative and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Sergio Vieira de Mello, and wounded scores of others. A month later a second explosion near the premises killed a security guard and left 19 others injured.

In a letter to the Council, the Secretary-General calls for international security staff, protection coordination officers, personal security details and guard units in addition to protection provided by the United States-led multinational force, which would be responsible for security throughout the country.

Among their tasks, the different elements would be responsible for security at UN premises and access control to headquarters. The Council's response came in the form of a letter approved during an open meeting. Mr. Annan's spokesman said the exchange of letters between the Secretary-General and the Security Council was intended to provide a legal framework for this arrangement.

Asked about progress in obtaining troops for the security elements, Fred Eckhard said there was nothing to announce yet. While there were reports that one country would provide assistance, there was nothing to confirm pending a final agreement, he added.

Underscoring the dangerous situation in Iraq, the chief of the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), Carol Bellamy, yesterday said that the killing of dozens of children in Baghdad was an "unconscionable slaughter of innocents." Ms. Bellamy said that it was obvious that no regard was shown for the presence of children at the site of the bombing. "The killing of children is a crime and a moral outrage," she said, adding that Iraq is one of the most dangerous places in the world for children.

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