UN agencies hope to return to Iraq within days

14 April 2003
The UN hopes to return international aid personnel to Iraq in the coming days despite the dangers faced in the country, aid agencies told reporters at their daily briefing in Amman on 12 April. However, spokespeople again urged coalition troops to establish the conditions of law and order necessary for staff to operate safely. 'We hope Monday to return to the three northern governorates, Dahuk, Erbil and Suleimaniya,' said UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator Ramiro Lopez da Silva. The UN also plans to extend activities in the more secure south of the country, and in the east, where it estimates some 30,000 people have been displaced. Referring to promises by coalition forces that the improved level of military control would allow a shift towards focussing on law and order, Da Silva said: 'I hope we will be able to see on the ground the swift results of this commitment to allow [us], as the humanitarian agencies, to carry out our responsibilities.' He also expressed a concern about the longer-term effects of the outbreak of lawlessness. 'In a more medium-term perspective we are concerned that this is passing the wrong message to the Iraqis in the days immediately after the collapse of the Baathist regime and the wrong signal in terms of what the future is in Iraq, what freedom and democracy entails.'

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