US forces to guard UN staff in Iraq

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan says senior staff of the world body would continue to rely on US-led occupation forces for their security in Iraq.

    Annan says there is no security alternative for the time being

    Annan on Wednesday said UN workers had to rely on the occupation forces because the Muslim protection force proposed by Saudi Arabia for Iraq has not yet taken off.

    The secretary general also pointed out that the proposal for a dedicated unit within the occupation forces to exclusively guard UN staff has not materialised with almost all countries reluctant to contribute troops.

    "For the time being, for practical measures, we have no other choice but to rely on the multinational force and this is the way we are going," Annan said.

    "We haven't had much success attracting governments to sign up for the dedicated force," he said.

    Resolution

    A resolution adopted by the 15-nation Security Council in June called on the UN to play a vital role in helping Iraq down the path to its first democratically elected government and said a special unit of the occupation force should be set up to guard UN officials and facilities.

    About 600 international UN staff were working in Iraq at one point after the US-led invasion.

    But all were pulled out last year after a bomb attack on a UN office in Baghdad killed 22 people including the UN special representative for Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello.

    Since then, only small teams have been sent in to Iraq to carry out special tasks while other senior UN officials worked on Iraqi issues from neighbouring Jordan.

    The UN's new special representative for Iraq, veteran Pakistani diplomat Ashraf Jehangir Qazi is expected to return to Iraq with a small UN team in time for the 15 August national political conference seen as a crucial step toward January elections.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Why some African Americans are moving to Africa

    Escaping systemic racism: Why I quit New York for Accra

    African-Americans are returning to the lands of their ancestors as life becomes precarious and dangerous in the USA.

    Why Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel

    Why Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel

    No country in the world recognises Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

    Ten predictions for 2018

    Ten predictions for 2018

    From Putin to Saudi-Iran tensions to the royal wedding, here are 10 predictions for what the next 12 months will hold.