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UN plans to withdraw from Iraq

August 30, 2003 14:38 IST

With the security situation worsening in Iraq, the United Nations plans to withdraw ninety per cent of its international staff stationed there.

The world body plans to leave only about 40 to 50 essential personnel in the country, UN officials said on Friday.

The reassessment of staff deployment began immediately after the bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad on August 19 in which the world body's top official in the country Sergio de Mello was among the 23 people who were killed.

At that time, the UN had 300 staff in Baghdad and an equal number in the rest of the country. Since then the number has come to around 100 for Baghdad.

The attack outside one of the Shiite shrine in Najaf, which killed at least 124 people, including a top cleric, has also intensified discussion as to how to ensure security of the UN staff stationed in the war-ravaged country.

Had there been no bombing, the number of international staff would have progressively gone up as the UN expanded its activities.

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