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19.08.2004 General News

Bombing of UN offices in Baghdad remembered

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Accra, Aug. 19, GNA - The bombing of the United Nations Offices in Baghdad, Iraq on August 19, 2003 by a suicide bomber that killed 22 UN staff including Sergio Vieira De Mello, UN Under Secretary-General, was on Thursday marked in Accra with a solemn memorial service to commemorate the event.

The day, which is being simultaneously observed throughout the world, is to pay tribute to those, who lost their lives, those who were injured and others who have been affected by the event.

The UN Office in Ghana organised the service, which had in attendance Ministers of State; Members of the Diplomatic Corps, Members of the Council of State and the Heads of UN Agencies in Ghana. Foreign Affairs Minister Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who spoke on behalf of the Government, asked Ghanaians to renew their commitment to the ideals and activities of the United Nations in its quest to bring peace and understanding into the world.

To this end, he said, Ghana remained committed to cooperating with the UN and other member countries to ensure that the organisation fulfilled its mandate of making the world congenial for peaceful coexistence.

"We shall continue our 40 year-old policy of steadfast support in terms of men and materials for the peacekeeping operations of the UN, and we shall continue to contribute as effectively as we can to search for peace in our troubled Region as elsewhere in the world", he said. Nana Akufo-Addo, however, noted that the various violent conflicts that bedevilled the world was a testimony to the failure of the world community to live up to the vision of the founding fathers of the UN. He said the sincere and authentic cooperation of member states was essential if the UN were to achieve its great purpose of protecting the peace of the world and promoting the freedom of its people.

The Foreign Minister said the first anniversary of the Baghdad bombing should provide the occasion for all member states to reappraise their respective roles in the search for world peace within the framework of the UN Charter.

He called on Member States to explore all humanely possible means for amicable resolution of conflicts in order to realize the objectives of the UN.

In a message to mark the day UN Secretary-General, Busumuru Kofi Annan described the event as a personal tragedy "because of the direct attack against the blue flag and for we, who have devoted our lives to the United Nations.

"The UN family is no stranger to violence and intimidation, and we have mourned the loss of hundreds of colleagues over the years. But the attack on the Canal Hotel brought us face to face with danger in a new and more intimidating form - the danger that we, Servants of the United Nations, may have become one of the main targets of political violence", he said.

Busumuru Annan called on all to use the sad anniversary to mourn the victims and express sympathy and solidarity with all the bereaved, adding: "I pray, too, that, however, long it takes, the perpetrators are held to account, and do not get away with this cold-blooded murder."

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