Global Policy Forum

New Fund Helps Pay for Guarding UN Staff in Iraq


By Irwin Arieff

November 30, 2004

The Security Council on Tuesday approved a request by the European Union for the creation of a trust fund to help defray the cost of protecting U.N. staff working in Iraq. The council asked U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to set up the account before the end of the week after the Netherlands, on behalf of the 25 EU members, offered a $12 million contribution on condition a trust fund was set up.

A resolution approved by the 15-nation council in June authorized establishment of a dedicated multinational security force, under overall U.S. command, to protect U.N. staff in Baghdad. But the force has been slow to materialize due to security worries and an unwillingness by some governments to let their troops serve under U.S. command in Iraq. Among those guarding U.N. facilities in Baghdad are soldiers from Fiji.

U.S. Ambassador John Danforth, the council president for November, called the trust fund a "very positive" development. He said it indicated "not just $12 million for security for U.N. personnel but a real sense of commitment on the part of countries that were not necessarily supportive of the military action in Iraq, but they are committed to the future of Iraq and a successful election in Iraq."

Annan pulled all international staff out of Iraq last year after two bomb attacks on U.N. headquarters in Baghdad. The first, in August 2003, killed 22 people and injured 150. Since then the world body has slowly been sending back small numbers of staff to help Iraqi authorities prepare for elections scheduled for Jan. 30 and other tasks.

The United Nations now has some 20 electoral staff in Baghdad, up from eight, U.N. chief spokesman Fred Eckhard said last Friday. U.N. election experts had hoped to send up to 100 electoral monitors to Iraq, but have had to keep numbers well below that due to security fears.

More Information on Iraq
More Information on the UN's Role in Post-War Iraq


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