The Secretary-General, on entering the Building this morning, said he is getting increasingly concerned about
civilian casualties in Iraq, following reports that a missile struck a market in Baghdad today. He said, “I would like to
remind all belligerents that they should respect international humanitarian law and take all necessary steps to protect
Asked further about the humanitarian situation, he said he was meeting with the heads of UN humanitarian
agencies today -– in a meeting which is going on right now, in fact. He said he believes that UN personnel are “geared
up to be able to go back to Iraq and resume their work as soon as the situation permits”.
He was also asked about the Security Council’s discussions on adjustments to the “oil-for-food” programme,
and he said that, after meeting the five permanent members of the Security Council yesterday, he was confident that
they want to do everything to help the Iraqi population, and he has no doubt that the Council will come to a satisfactory
conclusion on that issue.
We have the transcript of his comments upstairs.
Starting at 3 this afternoon, the Security Council is going to begin an open debate on Iraq, and the
Secretary-General will be the first to speak. After the Secretary-General, the debate is expected to continue first with
non-Council members expressing their views on the current situation in Iraq, and then Council members will wrap up
the debate. So far, some 50 speakers are inscribed, so we expect the meeting will go on into tomorrow.
This morning, the Council has been in closed consultations to discuss proposed adjustments to the
oil-for-food programme on Iraq, and I just mentioned the Secretary-General’s comments earlier today on that topic.
Council members are discussing a draft text that has been worked on at the expert level since Saturday, which was
presented to them by Ambassador Gunter Pleuger of Germany, the chair of the 661 Sanctions Committee dealing with
On the humanitarian front, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)’s national staff in Iraq continues its efforts
to tackle the immediate humanitarian needs of the population, both in the north and in Baghdad. One hundred first-aid
kits have been handed over in the capital to the General Federation of Iraqi Women, which has access to considerable
numbers of people at the grass-roots level. UNICEF’s water team has been training local technicians on how to