August 21, 2003

Annan blames US for Iraq blast

(8/20/03) The _resident's regime is illegitimate (ala Fraudida),
incompetent (Where is Osama bin Laden?) and corrupt
(Where is Ken Lay?), BUT it is something even
worse...Remember, as you ponder this painful and
puzzling attack, "all the _resident's men" recently
declared that they are "no longer seeking a major UN
role in the occupation of Iraq, and will instead try
to enlist individual countries to help the US-led
occupation forces." What a disgrace. Remember too,
though, that you are not alone and that Kofi Annan and
Nelson Mandela are standing shoulder to shoulder with

Annan blames US for Iraq blast


20 August 2003 15:12

United Nations chief Kofi Annan insisted on Wednesday
that the UN had no plans to pull out of Iraq despite
the bombing of its Baghdad headquarters, taking a
swipe at the United States-led coalition, which he
said was responsible for security.

"We will carry on our mandate that has been given to
us by the Security Council," the secretary general
said at a news conference at Stockholm airport shortly
before he was due to board a flight to New York.

Asked whether the UN was planning to withdraw staff
from Iraq, Annan said: "We do not intend to do this.
We are assessing the situation."

The truck bombing, which killed at least 24 people at
the UN headquarters in Baghdad on Tuesday, came on the
heels of a wave of attacks on coalition forces in
recent months.

"The least we owe them is to ensure that their deaths
have not been in vain. We shall continue," he said.

Annan criticised the US for failing to secure the
situation in Iraq for international humanitarian
workers: "The occupying power is responsible for law
and order and the security of the country," he said.
"We had hoped that by now the coalition forces would
have secured the environment for us to be able to
carry on the essential work of political and economic
reconstruction, institution-building and for Iraqis to
carry on with their work," he said.

"That has not happened," he said, while acknowledging
that it was difficult to prevent such an attack.

A US military spokesperson disagreed with Annan,
saying the UN was in charge of its own security.

"It was a UN issue to provide their own security,"
said Lieutenant Peter Rekers.

"They had a private security company providing
security around the [UN] compound," Rekers said.

The UN and the US have been at loggerheads over the
question of security in Iraq, and the UN's role in

According to a report last week in the New York Times,
Washington is no longer seeking a major UN role in the
occupation of Iraq, and will instead try to enlist
individual countries to help the US-led occupation

The report said the US government had specifically
opted against giving the UN any authority over
security in Iraq.

Other reports have indicated that Secretary of State
Donald Rumsfeld is strongly opposed to any dilution of
military authority over Iraq by involving the UN.

It is feared, the reports said, that a UN role might
actually hamper US operations, including against
guerrillas or terrorists in Iraq.

Meanwhile, the US-led coalition said it would
re-evaluate its security procedures following the

Annan said the UN would also review its security in
Iraq and the rest of the world, adding that the
Security Council would meet later on Wednesday to
discuss its next moves.

The UN's mandate in Iraq includes coordinating
humanitarian and reconstruction assistance, promoting
the safe return of refugees and facilitating the
reconstruction of key infrastructure.

The top UN envoy in Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello, was
among those killed in Tuesday's truck bombing, which
Annan qualified as a "brutal act of senseless

"Yesterday was a dark Tuesday for the UN, Iraq and
international solidarity. On that day the United
Nations lost some of its most outstanding public
servants, including Sergio Vieira de Mello," said
Annan, with tears in his eyes.

Annan said he believed Tuesday's bombing and recent
attacks against the coalition were the result of an
organised rebellion and not independent acts carried
out by disgruntled Iraqis.

"Obviously it seems to be much more organised and much
deeper than one thought at the beginning," he said.

"I do not know who they are, what their cause is or
what god they pray to, but what they did yesterday
will not serve their cause nor their goal," he said, a
day after cutting short his holiday in Finland to
return to New York. -- Sapa-AFP

Posted by richard at August 21, 2003 11:39 AM