Sunday, July 08, 2007

Report: UN Secretary General Ban praises 'sacrifices' made by U.S. in Iraq; Says U.S. 'played a considerable part in the stabilization of Iraq'

Above: In 2003 a bomb tore through part of the United Nations Headquarters in Baghdad, killing at least 17 people including the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello. The UN withdrew operations from Iraq at the time, and returned later with only a minimal presence.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has praised the military "sacrifices" made by the United States in the conflict in Iraq, according to a single-paragraph story in a German newspaper Sunday.

"Nobody can deny that the United States has played a considerable part in the stabilization of Iraq," the South Korean-born official was quoted saying. "We have to appreciate the sacrifices involved."

The report appeared in the newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, which said that its weekday sister publication, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, would publish the full interview on Monday.

The daily newspaper issued a separate news release saying this had been Ban's response to a question about how friction since 2003 between the United States and the United Nations could be resolved.

In January, Ban replaced Kofi Annan, who had criticized the US invasion of Iraq and angered Washington.

According to Ban, his principal current concern was to end the crisis in Darfur. He said a 20,000-strong peace force jointly created by the African Union and the United Nations would be established at an early date next year.

He also defended the United Nations' UNIFIL peace operation from criticism that it was ineffective, but said it was urgent to improve surveillance of the Syrian-Lebanese border to stop arms smuggling.

Read the rest at EUX

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