Archive for Thursday, December 13, 2007

UN chief vows to keep staff in Algeria

December 13, 2007

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— The U.N. chief vowed Wednesday to keep United Nations staff in Algeria, saying the bombing of its offices in the north African nation will not deter the world body from helping people in need.

At least nine U.N. workers were among the 31 killed in the attack in Algiers by an affiliate of al-Qaida. U.N. deputy spokeswoman Marie Okabe said the situation on the ground is fluid and confusing, with some U.N. staffers still missing.

It was the worst attack against U.N. staff since an August 2003 bombing at U.N. headquarters in Baghdad killed the organization's top envoy in Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello, and 21 others.

Former Secretary-General Kofi Annan pulled all U.N. international staff out of Iraq two months after that attack, which was followed by a second bombing at U.N. headquarters in Baghdad and a spate of attacks on humanitarian workers. He allowed a small U.N. contingent to return to Baghdad in August 2004 but the number has remained low since then because of security concerns.

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