World Bank, IMF Move from Iraq, but Not Quitting
( 2003-08-21 08:53) (Agencies)
The World Bank and International Monetary Fund said on Wednesday they had not pulled out of Iraq but their work on the ground was on hold after a bomb shattered the United Nations office in Baghdad.
World Bank staff there have been relocated to Amman, Jordan, said bank spokesman Damian Milverton.
"We have made no decision to pull out of Iraq and certainly we will continue to work on the needs assessment from Amman while we discuss the next step forward with the UN, the IMF and our other partners," he said.
The bank had 15 staff members in Baghdad. One local employee is missing and others were injured. At least two workers were taken to hospital in Kuwait.
Earlier reports said both institutions had decided to quit the country.
"It's not true (that we're pulling out)," said Tom Dawson, the IMF's director of external relations. "We have six people there and every one of them was injured, that's why they're being pulled out. It's not a policy decision to pull out."
The IMF workers arrived in Baghdad on Monday.
The bank and the fund said it was too soon to say when teams might go back into Iraq.
"There is no place to go because the place was blown up, their offices were blown up," said Dawson.
"Right now we are concerned with the status of our staff, there is no work for anyone to do right now at any rate. It's not like we have robots stacked up and we can send four more people in to do the same work."
The World Bank has been working with the United Nations to finish its needs assessment before the end of September. That would allow for time to circulate the report ahead of a donors meeting scheduled to be held Spain on October 23-24.
The officials said it was too soon to say if the timing of the assessment would be affected but said much of the work had been completed.
"All of the needs assessment work that needs to be done in the country, except for the consultation with the Iraqi people, is done," said Trygve Olfarnez, press officer at United Nations Development Program.
"It needs to be pulled together and made sense of."
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