UN Envoy to Urge New Pact With Baghdad on Relief Aid

UNITED Nations envoy Jan Eliasson arrived here yesterday to push for a pact to allow UN aid workers and guards in Iraq to resume relief work frozen since June 30.

Mr. Eliasson, the UN emergency aid coordinator, told reporters he planned to start talks with Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammad Saeed al-Sahaf yesterday evening.

A Memorandum of Understanding between Baghdad and the UN that governed emergency relief operations following Iraq's Gulf War defeat in February last year expired on June 30.

Iraq refused to renew it. The United Nations says its work is now largely crippled by a lack of visas for international staff and travel permits to allow them to move around. The number of international UN aid workers has dwindled to about 76 from 600 in April. Forty-six Fijian UN guards left Iraq on Sunday.

Eliasson arrived in Baghdad only hours after a team of UN arms experts completed 10 days of inspections in Iraq with no sign of the confrontation over access to ministry buildings predicted in United States press reports.

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