x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

UN is grateful for Dubai sanctuary

The UN thanks Dubai for accommodating staff who were moved out of Afghanistan following a Taliban raid.

NEW YORK // The UN has thanked Dubai for accommodating staff who were moved out of Afghanistan following a Taliban raid that left five of the world body's workers dead. The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, spoke by telephone on Monday with Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, to discuss relocating some 200 UN staff to Dubai.

"We certainly appreciate all the help we are getting from the international community in terms of the temporary relocations, including from the Security Council and from member states in general as they consider the secretary general's proposals on enhanced security," said the UN spokesman, Farhan Haq. "In that context, we really appreciate the contribution that is being made by Dubai to provide temporary accommodations as some of our staff are relocated briefly."

UN officials insist they will not pull out of Afghanistan in the aftermath of the raid on the Kabul guesthouse on October 28, the latest incident in a surge of violence against UN staff. Princess Haya, a UN Messenger of Peace and chairwoman of Dubai's International Humanitarian City (IHC), said the logistics hub was pleased to "assist our UN colleagues from Kabul after this terrible assault". "The number of attacks on humanitarian workers has escalated in the last few years and we must all work with the UN to find more effective ways to counter this disturbing trend and provide better support to all the victims," she said in a statement.

Her husband Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, ordered Dubai officials to assist inbound UN staff, an IHC statement said. The UN is relocating half of the 1,100 UN international staff based in Afghanistan to Dubai and other "secure locations", for at least three weeks. They include staff from the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, the World Food Programme, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the Food and Agriculture Organisation, the UN Development Programme and the Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

jreinl@thenational.ae