World leaders condemn bloody assault on UN office in Mazar
WASHINGTON (PAN): US president Barack Obama and the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, on Friday led the international community in worldwide condemnation of a bloody attack on a UN compound in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif.
At least 10 foreign nationals were killed when a Quran burning protest turned violent in the city, the capital of northern Balkh province after hundreds of people took to the streets during a demonstration against the Quran burning incident in Floria.
Police said two of the employees were beheaded. The Security Council in a statement called on the Afghan government to bring those responsible to justice and take all possible steps, with the assistance of ISAF, as appropriate, to protect UN personnel and premises.
“I condemn in the strongest possible terms the attack on the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. Together with the American people, I offer my deepest condolences to those injured and killed, as well as to their loved ones,” the US President, Barack Obama, said.
Obama stressed importance of calm and urge all parties to reject violence and resolve differences through dialogue. Joining his president in condemning the incident, the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, said: “The United Nations has stood by the Afghan people for more than fifty years. They have saved countless lives and delivered essential food and supplies. They are a force for peace, progress and stability in Afghanistan and throughout the world.
“The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the violent attack against the United Nations operations centre in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan, on 1 April 2011, which resulted in the death and injury of United Nations staff,”said the Security Council
President for the month of April, the Colombian Ambassador, Nestor Osorio.
“The members of the Security Council expressed their deep condolences to the families of the victims. The thoughts of the Security Council members are with the wounded and with all UNAMA personnel,” Osorio said.
“This was an outrageous and cowardly attack against UN Staff, which cannot be justified under any circumstances and I condemn in the strongest possible terms,” the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, said.
Shocked at the incident, the British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, termed it as a brutal act. “The families and friends of those killed today have my deepest sympathies. The work of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan is of utmost importance. It is vital that they can carry out their work in a safe and secure environment,” Hague said.
The State Department spokesman, Mark Toner, said it is premature to speculate on the exact cause of the incident or linking it with the Quran burning incident in the US. “About the burning of the Qu’ran, we’ve been very clear in saying that this is an isolated act done by a small group of people, and it’s indeed very contrary to the American people’s traditions. It doesn’t reflect the respect that the people of the United States have toward Islam, and we absolutely reject this kind of religious intolerance,” he said.
The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) condemned the attack on a UN compound. "We unequivocally condemn this act of senseless violence. Nothing can justify or excuse this attack,” it said.
The United Nations Staff Union and its Standing Committee on the Security and Independence of the International Civil Service express their outrage at the killing of UN staff members in Afghanistan. The Staff Union requests the Afghan authorities to investigate the incident, to take all possible measures to protect UN staff throughout the country and to prevent the reoccurrence of such tragic events.
Meanwhile, the radical Florida Pastor, Terry Jones, in a statement termed it as a very tragic and criminal action and demanded the US and UN to take immediate action. “We must hold these countries and people accountable for what they have done as well as for any excuses they may use to promote their terrorist activities,” he demanded.
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