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Iraq: UN Uncertain About Returning Staff

Nicosia, 14 November 2003 (RFE/RL) -- An official in the UN's Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said today the United Nations is still uncertain about when full staff will return to Iraq. Kevin Kennedy, the chief of the Humanitarian Emergency Branch of the UN office, said it is hard to imagine how the United Nations could carry out its wide range of tasks in Iraq until security improves.

Kennedy and other UN officials are meeting in Cyprus today to discuss how the United Nations could return to Iraq. The UN pulled most of its staff from the country following a 19 August attack on UN headquarters in Iraq that killed more than 20 people.

The U.S. military has started Operation Iron Hammer in an attempt to stop attacks on U.S. soldiers, foreign workers, and Iraqi civilians. Last night, the U.S. military used mortars, artillery, and gunships in a second night of its crackdown on anti-American insurgents in Baghdad.