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Sinn Féin urges Irish Government to spearhead campaign for strengthened UN

20 August, 2003

In response to the bombing of the UN Headquarters in Baghdad, Sinn Féin Spokesperson on International Affairs Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has called on the Taoiseach and Minister for Foreign Affairs to actively campaign for a strengthening of the UN mandate in Iraq, and more broadly for a concerted international effort to strengthen and reform the organisation. Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

"Following the worst attack on a UN civilian mission in its history which injured more than a hundred people, and killed more than a dozen including UN Special Representative Sergio Vieira de Mello, this is a day of mourning for all of us who care deeply about the United Nations and its unique and important positive role in world affairs. I fully agree with Minister Cowen that this inexcusable attack is an assault on the entire international community. I extend my condolences to all survivors, families of the wounded and dead, and UN personnel.

"I now call on the Taoiseach and the Minister to ensure that these deaths are not in vain. For too long the UN has been underfunded and undermined and thus rendered vulnerable and unable to work effectively in many situations. The UN's unnecessarily limited mandate in Iraq is a prime example of this. Let this tragedy now spur this Government to campaign actively for an expansion of the UN mandate in Iraq ? a mandate that should have been exclusive from Day One. Let Ireland also use its upcoming Presidency of the EU to spearhead a campaign to restore proper respect and adequate capacity to the UN through a programme of proper resourcing and comprehensive reform.

"The UN needs Ireland's backing now more than ever before. Let this Government spare no effort to restore the international body to its rightful place at the centre of world affairs." ENDS

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