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Everyone, Benon Sevan's statement to the Security Council on the 'phasing-down' of OFF (re: Felicity's earlier post) has been released, along with a full transcript of the proceedings (isn't the latter a rarity?). See http://www.un.org/Depts/oip/background/latest/bvs031028.html and http://daccess-ods.un.org/access.nsf/Get?Open&DS=S/PV.4851&Lang=E (latter is PDF format). Sevan's statement may have been overtaken by events, however, as the UN today announced it's temporarily leaving Baghdad due to security concerns. Regards, Drew Hamre Golden Valley, MN USA == http://www.msnbc.com/news/986870.asp?0cv=CB10 U.N. to withdraw staff from Baghdad Move follows attack on HQ, Red Cross building UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 29 — The United Nations is temporarily pulling its staff out of Baghdad while it evaluates the security situation, but U.N. workers will remain in northern Iraq, a spokeswoman said Wednesday. “WE HAVE ASKED our staff in Baghdad to come out temporarily for consultations with a team from headquarters on the future of our operations, in particular security arrangements that we would need to take to operate in Iraq,” U.N. spokeswoman Marie Okabe said late Wednesday. “This decision is not an evacuation and it doesn’t affect the north.” Okabe would not say when the staff would leave Baghdad or give other details. U.N. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said about 20 U.N. staff members remained in Baghdad and some 40 others across Iraq. The U.N. decision was announced two days after a deadly suicide car bombing at the Baghdad headquarters of the Red Cross. The International Committee of the Red Cross and the humanitarian group Medecins Sans Frontieres, or Doctors Without Borders, also said Wednesday that they were pulling out workers, despite pleas from the U.S. administration. to stay. Aid groups reduce staff in Iraq The ICRC said it reconsidered its deployment in Iraq following a wave of suicide bombings in Baghdad on Monday. One of the attacks badly damaged the agency’s Baghdad headquarters, killing two Iraqi Red Cross employees and as many as 10 other people outside the compound. Secretary-General Kofi Annan in late September ordered all but a skeleton U.N. staff needed for essential services to leave the country following two bombings at the world body’s headquarters in Baghdad. U.N. security in Baghdad and other troublespots is expected to be at the top of the agenda at meetings being held by Annan on Friday and Saturday with the heads of U.N. agencies. EU PONDERS PULL OUT The European Union’s aid agency also said on Thursday it may close its Baghdad office. “The ECHO office is still open, but I don’t rule out that it may be closed completely if we consider that it is not safe for our personnel,” senior agency official Ruth Albuquerque told reporters in Bangkok. The European Union Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO) said it was reviewing daily the risk to its three expatriate and five local staff in Baghdad. Albuquerque, head of the ECHO unit responsible for Iraq, Asia and Latin America, said its work in Iraq was being hindered by the violence, but only a few projects had been suspended. But with the countryside around the capital becoming more dangerous, the agency was sending staff on short trips from neighboring Jordan to monitor projects in the country. “We really carry on, which is becoming more and more difficult because one of the most dangerous things in Baghdad is not to stay there, it’s travel,” she said. Other aid agencies and non-governmental organizations are expected to cut back their presence, dealing a fresh blow to the international humanitarian effort in Iraq. “They are already running very high risks. You know that we are being targeted because we are humanitarian. I think the ICRC showed this very well,” Albuquerque said. _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk