Care Australia reconsiders Iraq presence

24 November 2003
Australian state-run aid agency, Care Australia, announced on 24 November that it is reconsidering its future presence and operations in Iraq after a rocket attack on its Baghdad offices. Chief executive Robert Glasser told reporters that three rocket-propelled grenades were fired at the offices, causing minor damage but no injuries. Glasser said he would consult with the agency's Iraq country director, who was in Amman, before deciding what actions to take. 'It's obviously a difficult situation and we have difficult choices to make all the time,' he said. 'We have to work out our next steps.' Care Australia is the only international non-government organization, apart from the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross, which has maintained a continuous presence and programme in Iraq since the 1990-1 Gulf war. The organisation is presently implementing about twenty projects with a total value of $25 million.

Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer announced on 24 November that an Australian man, who had been detained by UK troops in raids on suspected Saddam Hussein loyalists, was to be released. Downer told Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio that the man, who was detained in the southern city of Umm Qasr, was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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