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ARABS-UN - July 16 - International Staff Pulled From South Iraq.

UN spokesman in Iraq George Somerwill says the UN has pulled its international observers out of southern Iraq because of safety fears. He says: "It is in response to advice the UN has received that the [UN humanitarian] coordinator [in Iraq] has decided not to deploy international observers in the southern Iraqi provinces". Somerwill says the decision was not taken in response to any specific incident. (The decision comes less than 3 weeks after a gunman opened fire at the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation's [FAO] mission in Baghdad, killing 2 people and wounding 7. The gunman said he was protesting against international sanctions on Iraq. Around 150 UN observers travel to various parts of Iraq to monitor the humanitarian needs bought under an oil-for-food deal with the UN.) Somerwill says monitoring would be done by local staff. Tun Myat, the newly appointed UN humanitarian coordinator who is in charge of the oil-for-food programme in Iraq, says delivery of food and medicine would not be disrupted in the 4 southern provinces. (They are Basra, Dhi qar, Mesain and Qadissiya.) Asked how long the observers would be kept away from the south, Myat says: "I would not like to speculate but I do not expect this to last any length of time. In fact I am hoping that we could resume it in 2 weeks".
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Publication:APS Diplomat Recorder
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:7IRAQ
Date:Jul 22, 2000
Words:224
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