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          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.

          **Security Council

          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

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