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UN chief sending envoy to Baghdad

UN chief sending envoy to Baghdad

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Wednesday he is sending a senior U.N. official to Baghdad in response to a request from Iraq's prime minister for a U.N. Security Council investigation of bombings at two ministries in August.
Ban told a news conference that Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Oscar Fernandez-Taranco will go to Baghdad "for preliminary consultations related to Iraq's security and sovereignty" and discussions on how the United Nations can help.
Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki sent a letter to Ban in early September requesting that he ask the Security Council to establish an independent investigation commission into the twin bombings.
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani reiterated the request at the U.N. General Assembly in late September.
Iraq has blamed an alliance between al-Qaida in Iraq and Saddam Hussein's outlawed Baath Party for the pair of truck bombings on Aug. 19 outside the Foreign and Finance ministries in Baghdad that killed about 100 people. The Iraqi government wants Syria to hand over several suspects it says are based there.
Ban told reporters he explained to the Iraqi government that he needs "a clear mandate, an official mandate" from the Security Council before he can launch an investigation.
He said he decided to send Fernandez-Taranco to Baghdad before Sunday's suicide bombings at the Justice Ministry and the Baghdad Provincial Administration that killed at least 155 people, including 24 children trapped in a bus leaving a day care center. Al-Qaida's umbrella group in Iraq claimed responsibility for the attack.
The bombings were the deadliest attacks in two years and raised new fears about the country's ability to protect itself as it prepares for January elections and the U.S. military withdrawal.
Ban said in response to a question that after Fernandez-Taranco's discussions, "we will see" whether to expand a possible investigation to include the latest bombings.


Updated : 2020-12-01 05:11 GMT+08:00