Baghdad truck bombing could jeopardize UN aid programs in Iraq
The United Nations (UN) has decided not to pull out of Iraq despite the attack on its headquarters on Tuesday, August 19, allowing its development programs in the war torn country to continue after a temporary suspension of operations on Wednesday.
The blast put the international body’s humanitarian programs in jeopardy yesterday, with the attack appearing to be an attempt to evict the international community from Iraq. UN workers involved in development programs were ordered to stay home Wednesday after a cement truck filled with explosives blew up outside the UN offices in Baghdad the day before, killing envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello and 19 other people. Another 100 people were injured in the blast, reported AP.
"We will carry on our mandate that has been given to us by the Security Council," said United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan at a Stockholm news conference. The UN launched a new humanitarian appeal for Iraq on June 23 calling for an additional $259 million on top of a $2.2 billion dollar flash request it opened in March to cover relief operations until the end of the year.
The appeal is based on a range of humanitarian needs assessments on the ground and extensive consultations and covers revised requirements for the period from of April 1 to December 31. At present, the UN distributes humanitarian aid in the country and is developing programs aimed at boosting Iraq's emerging free press, justice system and monitoring of human rights.
The UN has had a long presence in Iraq. The Oil for Food program (OFFP) was a UN effort to relieve the Iraqi public of hardships imposed by UN sanctions. The program, created in 1995, permitted Iraq to use part of its oil revenues for food and medicine and has been the only sustenance for some 60 percent of Iraq’s people. It was suspended on March 17, when the Secretary-General withdrew United Nations personnel from Iraq, just prior to the start of military action.
The Security Council extended the program, as adjusted by its resolution 1472 (2003), which was to expire on May 12, until June 3, 2003. It did so by unanimously adopting resolution 1476 (2003), through which the council decided that the provisions contained in paragraph 4 of resolution 1472 (2003) would remain in force until that date and might be subject to further renewal.
UN agencies active in Iraq include the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the United Nations Children’s fund (UNICEF), the World Food Program (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO). — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)