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EU Officials Outraged by Bombing Outside Red Cross HQ in Baghdad - 2003-10-27

EU officials have expressed outrage over the bombing outside the International Committee of the Red Cross headquarters in Baghdad, but they say the situation in Iraq is not out of control. The European Union says it is concerned about the effect the attack will have on the delivery of aid to the Iraqi people.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, who was in Brussels for an EU foreign ministers' meeting, told reporters that the occupying powers in Iraq, including his country, will not be deterred by the attacks. "I would like to express my shock and outrage at this specious terrorist incident in Baghdad," he said, "and the fact that the terrorists have yet again targeted not U.S. or UK troops, but an international organization there solely for humanitarian relief shows the depth of depravity to which they stoop, and the fact they represent no high ideal, but only the very worst of the remnants of the Saddam regime."

Mr. Straw said the security situation in Baghdad is unsatisfactory, but that, overall, the situation across the country is getting better.

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana called the situation in Iraq not very good, but he said the security situation is not out of control.

A spokesman for the European Commission, the EU executive body, said he is worried about the impact the attack on Red Cross headquarters will have on that organization's relief efforts, which are partially funded by the European Union.

The spokesman, Reijo Kempinnen, said the Red Cross presence in Iraq has nothing to do with politics, but only with delivering humanitarian aid. He said the Red Cross, which announced that it will reassess its working conditions in Iraq, has delivered relief to the Iraqi people under exceptionally difficult circumstances.

The European Commission, meanwhile, released an opinion poll of citizens across the 15 nation bloc on their attitude toward the war in Iraq and the reconstruction effort there. The poll, taken before last week's donors conference for Iraq in Madrid, says that close to two-thirds of EU citizens believe the U.S.-led invasion of the country was unjustified and that the United States should pay to rebuild Iraq.