The United Nations has failed to organize a special
force in Iraq with the limited mission of securing its own headquarters.
UN officials said member states refused to contribute to a proposed
force that would protect a UN mission in Baghdad. The mission was meant to
mark the return of the UN presence in Iraq after a year's absence and help
organize and monitor national elections in January 2005.
The UN left Iraq in August 2003 in wake of an Al Qaida-inspired bombing
of UN headquarters in Baghdad. A UN report later blamed poor security for
the success of the insurgency strike, which destroyed UN headquarters in
Over the last few weeks, UN secretary-general Kofi Annan sought to
establish a security force to protect the UN mission in Baghdad, Middle East Newsline reported. But Annan
said nobody has pledged to commit troops.
"We haven't had much success attracting governments to sign up for the
dedicated force to protect the UN personnel in Iraq and our property," Annan
said. "So for the time being, for practical measures, we have no other
choice but to rely on the multinational force."
Under the current arrangement, the U.S.-led coalition would provide
protection for the UN mission in Baghdad. Annan did not say how many troops
would be deployed.
The Security Council was scheduled to hold consultations on Wednesday to
discuss the UN Mission in Iraq. In a report to the council, Annan said
security remains the "over-riding constraint for all UN activity in Iraq."
"In recent months, the acting UN Security Coordinator assessed the risk
to UN personnel in Iraq as being in the high to critical category," a UN
statement said. "The UN Mission and UN agencies will therefore continue to
limit their activities inside Iraq to the essential ones."
Several member states, including Pakistan, said the recurring suicide
bombings in Iraq have prevented them from sending troops to that
country. The United States has also encountered numerous rejections in a
plan to organize an Arab and Islamic peace-keeping force in Iraq.
Annan has appointed Ashraf Jehangir Qazi the new special representative
for Iraq. In August 2003, UN envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello was one of 22
people killed in the bombing of UN headquarters.