(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) Deputy spokesman Farhan Haq on Monday confirmed the UN staff in Baghdad are being relocated temporality to other areas as a "precautionary measure" because of the rapidly developing security situation in the country.
Haq told the daily press briefing that some 58 staff, belonging to the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), have been moved from Baghdad to Amman, Jordan, and will, when possible, move to Irbil in northern Iraq.
He refused to say whether the Mission's Chief Nickolay Mladenov is staying behind or will be relocated too, affirming that there will be further moves in the coming days.
As of last week there were about 200 international essential and non essential staff in Baghdad and its surroundings.
"The intention is to relocate them in Irbil, Iraq. Some other relocations may also take place in the next few days," he said, adding that the "situation has changed on the ground in the last few days, and we are adjusting our posture accordingly." He noted that the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and other groups operating in Iraq and Syria is "further reason, ... for insecurity in Syria to be stopped," and "should put pressure on all countries in the region and in the Security Council to try to solve the crisis in Syria before it threatens more and more countries all around it." Asked what the UN is doing to end the Syria conflict after Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi resigned late last month, Haq said "we are trying right now to see how best we can continue with the sort of efforts he had been putting forward and what steps are needed internationally and at the UN to actually move forward.
"The Secretary General, of course, is not giving up ... The sort of crisis we are facing now in Iraq should give everyone around, whether in the region or outside, pause to consider what to do because the crisis is actually growing and is threatening many, many different countries and it is in everyone's interest to bring it to a halt," he said.