New York

19 August 2003

Statement by the Secretary-General on the attack on UN Headquarters in Baghdad

All of us at the United Nations are shocked and dismayed by today's attack, in which many of our colleagues have been injured and an unknown number have lost their lives –Iraqis as well as international staff. Nothing can excuse this act of unprovoked and murderous violence against men and women who went to Iraq for one purpose only: to help the Iraqi people recover their independence and sovereignty, and to rebuild their country as fast as possible, under leaders of their own choosing.

I hope and pray that those injured, including my Special Representative, Sergio Vieira de Mello, who has been working so hard to make a success of that mission, will be swiftly brought to safety and be able to make a full recovery. I grieve deeply for those who have died, and express my most heartfelt sympathy to their loved ones.

I also hope to see those who have perpetrated this outrage brought to justice. Most of all, I hope to see Iraq restored as soon as possible to peace, security and full independence. The United Nations will make every effort to bring that about.