World Bank halts work in Iraq

The World Bank has suspended its work in Iraq because of security concerns following the bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad that killed at least 20 people.

Worldwide shock the UN was target
Worldwide shock the UN was target

Two World Bank employees were taken to hospital in Kuwait, said the organisation’s spokesman Damian Milverton on Wednesday.

“We have definitely suspended operations on the group in Iraq because we are very concerned about the security situation and the safety of our staff,” he said.

World Bank staff have been relocated to neighbouring Amman, Jordan, said Milverton.

The World Bank, which was using the UN offices in Baghdad as a base for assessing the cost of rebuilding Iraq’s economy, had 15 staff members in Baghdad. One local employee is still missing.

The Bank said it was too early to say when teams might return to Baghdad.

It has been working with the UN to finish its needs assessment before the end of September, ahead of a donors meeting scheduled to be held in Spain from the 23 to 24 October.

Officials said it was too soon to decide if the timing of the assessment would be affected but said much of the work had been completed.

Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund said there had been no decision yet to leave Iraq. Some of the six IMF staffers injured in the bombing were sent to other countries for medical attention.

Earlier reports said both institutions had decided to leave the country but an IMF official denied this.

The US Treasury also downplayed the reports.

Source : Reuters

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