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US Official Says Baghdad Attacks Show Terrorists Have No Regard for Innocent Life - 2003-10-31

U.S. presidential National Security advisor Condoleezza Rice says recent attacks against aid workers in Baghdad show that the terrorists in Iraq have no regard for innocent live.

Ms. Rice told reporters that the United States understands the United Nations' decision to temporarily withdraw its staff from Baghdad because of concerns about security.

She says the terrorists who carried out the recent deadly attacks against United Nations and International Red Cross staff are nothing more than brutal killers.

"Why attack people who are trying to deliver basic goods and services to the Iraqi people? Well, it is because they have no regard for innocent life, none, and they ought to be called for exactly who they are, brutal killers," he said.

The National Security Advisor made her remarks in New York Thursday after briefing international reporters on U.S. foreign policy. The discussion touched on topics ranging from efforts to resolve the North Korean and Iranian nuclear crises to prospects for reviving the so-called Roadmap for peace in the Middle East.

Ms. Rice called on Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei to consolidate Palestinian security forces. She also expressed concern about Israeli construction of a security fence that juts into the West Bank.

When asked about U.S. threats to impose economic sanctions on Syria, Ms. Rice said that President Bush does not object to a bill, already approved by the U.S. House of Representatives, that addresses the issue. The legislation would sanction Syria for alleged ties with terrorists and calls on Damascus to end its occupation of Lebanon.

"We believe that Syria has basically been unaccountable and needs to be accountable. We have made clear to Syria the things that it needs to do and obviously Lebanon needs to be in the near part of its future to be free and to have an opportunity to build a society that is Lebanon for the Lebanese," she said.

Ms. Rice made her comments hours after top Bush administration officials testified at a hearing of the Senate and Foreign Relations Committee that Syria has continued to support terrorist groups.