Annan and UN council condemn Turkey blasts
( 2003-11-21 08:46) (Reuters)
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the 15-member U.N. Security Council condemned the suicide bombings in Turkey on Thursday, saying those responsible needed to be brought to justice.
Appearing before reporters, Annan offered his "deepest condolences" to the governments of Turkey and Britain and the families of the estimated 27 people killed in the attacks that wrecked the British consulate and the London-based HSBC Bank building in Istanbul.
The Security Council later on Thursday adopted a resolution condemning the Istanbul bombings "in the strongest terms" and saying that "such acts, like any act of terrorism" threatened peace and security.
It urged all states to cooperate in efforts to "find and bring to justice the perpetrators, organizers and sponsors of these terrorist attacks."
Annan also said he preferred to keep U.N. political staff out of neighboring Iraq and instead have them commute to Baghdad, whenever needed, from an office in the region.
Annan, who withdrew all political staff from Iraq and all foreign staff from Baghdad, is under pressure to have the United Nations play a role in restoring democracy, especially after the U.S.-led coalition shuts down civilian operations in June 2004 and an Iraqi provisional government takes power.
He said the United Nations, whose headquarters in Baghdad was bombed on Aug. 19, was monitoring the security situation to determine whether or where to place staff.
Twenty-two people were killed in the August bombing, including the chief of mission, Sergio Vieira de Mello.
But Annan made clear he preferred to have foreign political officers commuting to Iraq rather than basing them there.
"I think we could conceivably have an office in the region with staff paying regular visits and having consultations in Iraq and going back to their base in the region," Annan said.
"So there would be constant back and forth and direct consultations with some people in Iraq -- this is what we have in mind," he said.
Annan said he believed U.N. ambassadors were conscious of the U.N. security problems because "we live in a rather dangerous world and a difficult world."
"We have seen bombs and attacks go on all around us. We have seen the U.N. itself and the blue flag targeted directly," Annan said. "We have seen attacks against the neutral Red Cross and Red Crescent organizations."
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