Annan continues push for increased security in Iraq following terrorist bombing

“Security obviously is of great concern to us and it’s also been part of our discussions this morning,” Mr. Annan told reporters after the meeting at UN Headquarters in New York, a day after he discussed the issue with US Secretary of State Colin Powell. Emphasizing the responsibility of the United States-led coalition forces for helping to provide a safe environment for UN operations in Iraq, he said: “We have a team that is on its way to Baghdad now to assess the security situation. There is no doubt that we may, we will have to strengthen our security. We may have to adjust our ways of operating on the ground and we will also need to take a look at UN operations elsewhere in the world. “And of course we will need to work with the coalition that has a capacity and has a responsibility for law and order in Iraq to give us help,” he added. Asked whether the coalition had offered help, he replied: “They will help, yes.” Mr. Annan also met with Foreign Minister Ana Palacio of Spain, another partner in the coalition forces in the war that ousted Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq, and with the ambassadors of Cuba, Malaysia and South Africa, who were representing the Non-Aligned Movement, which opposed the war. The Secretary-General has repeatedly made clear his determination to continue the UN missions in Iraq and around the world ever since Tuesday’s bombing, which killed his top envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello and at least 21 others and injured scores more, many seriously, and his equal determination to see adequate safety measures put in place.Rushing back to New York from a European holiday to confront the crisis arising from the terrorist attack, he told reporters on Wednesday that he would demand that the Security Council enforce stricter security measures. “We are assessing the situation and are going to make a judgment what additional requirements in terms of security and others that we will need and I will demand that of the Council,” he said before starting emergency consultations with the 15-member body. The United Kingdom and United States are permanent Council members while Spain is serving a two-year term.Asked about the possibility of a multinational force to guard the UN in Iraq, Mr. Annan said he believed most Member States would want to see further internationalisation, through the broadening of a UN role that would permit them to join the operations on the ground in political and economic reconstruction as well as security.“It is not excluded that the Council may decide to transform the operation into a UN-mandated multinational force, operating on the ground, with other governments coming in,” he added.But that would also imply “not just burden sharing, but also sharing decisions and responsibility with the others,” he said. “If that doesn’t happen, I think it is going to be very difficult to get a second (Security Council) resolution that will satisfy everybody.”Asked whether he saw Council unity on a possible second resolution following its divisions earlier in the year over the decision by the United States to go to war, Mr. Annan replied: “I think there can be unity in the Council, but it is going to take discussions, it is going to take negotiations, it is going to take give and take, and these things are best done behind closed doors, and that is my advice to the Council members.”Following the Secretary-General’s meeting with the representatives from Cuba, Malaysia and South Africa, the Non-Aligned Movement issued a statement strongly condemning the attack, demanding that the UN and its missions not be made targets for attack and reiterating its support for the Secretary-General and the world body.“Despite this attack, the Movement is convinced that the United Nations should continue to play its role in Iraq through the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI),” the statement said, encouraging the UN Members States and Mr. Annan “to remain steadfast.”Afterward, the Secretary-General said: “This support, coming from your 116 members, is a source of strength to me personally and to the Organization.” He added that the UN would continue its mission to ensure that an Iraqi Government is established as soon as possible, by the people and for the people. Listen to UN Radio report read more

Smuggled AK47 not Police property Blanhum

…Cops released from close arrestPreliminary investigations have revealed that the AK-47 assault rifle, which was intercepted at the exit of Police Headquarters, is not the property of the Guyana Police Force (GPF).While investigators have encountered some difficulties in identifying the origin of the high-powered rifle, they are confident that the firearm does not belong to the GPF.Head of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the GPF, Senior Superintendent Wendell Blanhum explained to media operatives the challenges facing the detectives.“We have been encountering some difficulties to restore the number on the firearm; on that basis it is very difficult to state whether the weapon is the property of the Guyana Police Force, but based on the general appearance, it is not the property of the Guyana Police Force,” he disclosed.However, Blanhum said identifying the number would be critical in determining if the weapon was lodged with the Police.Additionally, the Crime Chief explained that ballistic tests conducted showed that the firearm was not used at any crime scenes.He further noted that the Police have suspicions regarding the origin of the AK-47 rifle, but he declined to share those leads with the public as investigations are ongoing.Moreover, Blanhum said the file was sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions for legal advice.Meanwhile, the four Police ranks and one senior officer who were under close arrest pending the investigation were released.These persons include a Police Corporal and an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) attached to the Tactical Services Unit (TSU).However, the civilian who was also arrested in connection with the investigation remains in custody.Blanhum said he was hopeful for criminal charges to be laid against the Police Corporal involved, adding that investigators have recommended disciplinary action against the other ranks on duty at the time of the incident.Reports are that on February 28, a civilian vehicle was allowed into the Police compound without being searched.The vehicle reportedly stayed throughout the evening.The weapon was only discovered when the vehicle was searched the following morning when it was leaving the compound. The mobile phone belonging to the driver was checked and it was found that several calls were made to the ASP.That very ASP, this newspaper was told, had been implicated in several unprofessional and shady transactions, and had been interdicted from duty several years ago, following the murder of Dweive Kant Ramdass in the Essequibo River.Ramdass was reportedly robbed of millions of dollars.The ASP, who had been a cadet officer at the time, had been accused, along with other ranks, of stealing an undisclosed sum of money from Ramdass, which they had confiscated. During that trial, however, no evidence had been given against the Police ranks, and they were subsequently reinstated into the Police Force.Meanwhile, the Corporal who has been arrested is the brother of a tattoo artist who had been charged and remanded to prison for the murder of Leelawattie Mohamed, who was gunned down in Tain, Corentyne two weeks ago. The Corporal was reportedly on the radar of several senior officers. Suspicion that his character was shady arose after he was seen driving in and out of the TSU compound in various heavily tinted motor cars. (Guyana Times) Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedCorporal implicated in AK-47 interception at Police HQ on the runMarch 9, 2017In “Crime”Major Crimes Unit operation unearths more high powered weaponsMarch 10, 2017In “Crime”Conflicting stories: Crime Chief says Corporal in AK-47 smuggling didn’t escape, ‘on sick leave’March 10, 2017In “Crime” read more