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European Leaders Condemn Bombing of UN's Baghdad Headquarters - 2003-08-19

European leaders have condemned the bombing in Baghdad and expressed strong support for the United Nations role in Iraq.

The European Union strongly condemned the attack. EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said he is deeply shocked by what he called a despicable act that is an attack against people who are working for Iraq's future. He said the EU strongly supports the U.N.'s role in the ongoing reconstruction of Iraq and expressed his sympathy to the relatives of the victims.

French President Jacques Chirac said the entire international community has been hit, and he called the United Nations' work in Iraq essential. He described the attack as odious and said it provoked indignation. The French leader praised the chief U.N. official in Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello, who died in the bombing, saying his work is intelligent and courageous.

Russia condemned the attack as a barbaric act, and said it was intended to undermine the already difficult process of postwar stabilization in Iraq. A Russian foreign ministry statement expressed indignation that U.N. personnel who are trying to help the Iraqi people return to a normal life have become the target of terrorists. Moscow, which strongly opposed the U.S.-led war on Iraq, has repeatedly called for a stronger U.N. role in the country.

In Brussels, NATO's deputy secretary general, Alessandro Minuto Rizzo, also issued a condemnation. He said the attack is a barbaric act aimed at an international institution working to help the people of Iraq and offered his sympathy to the relatives of the victims.