In a report released on Monday, Ban Ki-moon raised the possibility that the UN may expand its operations in Iraq. Clearly on the Secretary General’s mind was the 2003 bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad, which killed a top UN diplomat, Sergio Vieira de Mello, and 16 others. From the Guardian:
The United Nations is a major promoter of electoral, constitutional and political efforts to build a united, democratic Iraq but because of the “precarious” security situation it needs the speedy construction of a new residential compound in Baghdad that can withstand the impact of rockets and other high-caliber weapons, he said.
“The security situation in Iraq remains complex and unpredictable and is a major limiting factor for the United Nations presence and activities in Iraq,” Ban said in the report covering the period from early March to early June.
U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, who was previously the top U.S. envoy in Iraq, has stressed several times that the United States believes the United Nations can and should step up its activities in Iraq, even in the current security climate.