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Iraq: UN Won't Increase Staff Despite New Resolution

United Nations, 18 October 2003 (RFE/RL) -- The United Nations says it has no plans at the current time to increase the size of its staff in Iraq, despite the newly approved Security Council resolution offering the world body a bigger role in helping the country transition from dictatorship to democracy. Fred Eckhard, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, said the security situation in Iraq does not permit the UN to send staff back into the country.

The UN ordered more than 500 international staff to leave Iraq after bombings targeted the world body in August and September. The August attack killed 22 people, including the UN's envoy to Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello.

The UN currently retains only minimal foreign staff in Iraq.

The United States military reported on 17 October that four U.S. military police had been killed in Iraq, raising to 101 the number of U.S. troops killed from hostile action since President George W. Bush declared major combat over on 1 May.

Officials said three of the U.S. military police were killed late on 16 October in a clash with supporters of a local Shi'ite Muslim cleric in the holy city of Karbala, south of Baghdad. Two Iraqi police were also reported killed in the fighting.

A fourth U.S. military policeman was reported killed in a bomb blast in the Baghdad area.