Daily Wisdom

July 16, 2007

Fresh Air From The UN?

Having listened for 9 years to the anti-American rhetoric coming from the U.N. and Kofi Annan, it was refreshing today to see that the new U.N. Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon actually agrees with the Bush administration on something...

U.N. Chief Warns Against Abrupt U.S. Troop Withdrawal

From International Herald Tribune & AP: U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned Monday that an abrupt U.S. troop pullout could deepen the crisis in Iraq, and he urged the United States to keep the Iraqi people in mind when making decisions on the increasingly unpopular war. Ban said both the United States and the international community have a responsibility not to abandon the Iraqi people. While he expressed reluctance to jump into Washington's fierce debate over Iraq, he emphasized that the rest of the world has a stake in the outcome of the conflict.

"It is not my place to inject myself into this discussion taking place between the American people and the administration and Congress," Ban told a news conference when asked about the U.N. view on a pullout. "However, I would like to tell you that great caution should be taken for the sake of the Iraqi people. Any abrupt withdrawal or decision may lead to a further deterioration of the situation in Iraq," Ban said.

It was a rare comment from the U.N. chief on Washington's Iraq policy, and came amid increasing calls by the U.S. Congress and the American public for the withdrawal of U.S. forces. It also came on the eve of Ban's meeting with U.S. President George W. Bush at the White House where the secretary-general said the Iraq conflict would be high on the agenda.

Since taking office in January, Ban has pushed for wider international efforts to stabilize Iraq. Earlier this year, he lobbied world powers to provide financial assistance for a sweeping five-year economic and political reform package, known as the International Compact for Iraq, which was launched in Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt in early May. He has also expressed interest in expanding the U.N. role in providing humanitarian assistance to Iraq and promoting political reconciliation, though he has warned the country's insecurity has undermined that goal. "While we know it is a very difficult process, the international community, together with the United Nations should do whatever we can to help the Iraqi people," Ban said.

British Army Lt. Gen. Graeme Lamb, deputy commander of international forces in Iraq, said a swift withdrawal of U.S.-led coalition forces would be a mistake. He said forces were making progress since the course set in January to escalate troop levels and step up operations in Baghdad and surrounding militant strongholds. He said "it would be a shame to change" course. A month of security sweeps, fueled by 28,000 new U.S. troops sent to Iraq this year, have reduced the number of high-profile bombings in Baghdad.

Ban said the Iraqi people are going through a very difficult period and suffering greatly. "It is exactly why the international community, United Nations... should help Iraqi people and government so that they can overcome this difficulty as soon as possible," he said.


At 7/17/2007 12:33 AM , Anonymous camojack said...

A breath of fresh air indeed!


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