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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 May, 2003, 09:50 GMT 10:50 UK
Amos: UN has 'clear' role in Iraq
Baroness Amos
Medical supplies were scarce in Baghdad, Baroness Amos said
The UN will have a "very clear" role in Iraq's reconstruction, the new international development secretary has insisted.

Prime minister Tony Blair appointed Baroness Amos after Clare Short resigned over a draft UN resolution being discussed at the Security Council because it did not give the UN its promised central role in rebuilding Iraq.

But on Sunday Baroness Amos told the BBC One's Breakfast with Frost programme the resolution gave the UN a role that was "very clear indeed".

And it would include a "vital" role for a UN special coordinator "to help not just in the humanitarian situation but also in devising that political process that will lead us to having an Iraqi government".

Baroness Amos

Iraq "is very much top of my agenda," Baroness Amos added.

"We are working with our colleagues in the United States, and others to try to stabilise situation."

Baghdad was a "particular problem" she said. "Security remains fragile.

"We have seen difficulties with securing hospitals and getting medical supplies in."

But there were already "some 75 UN workers" and 44 UK civil servants in the Iraqi capital, with more arriving next week.

And the UN was better prepared than it had been for any previous "post-conflict situation".

Baroness Amos, the first black woman to sit in cabinet, told the programme her other immediate priorities included an "action plan" for Africa - to work on conflict resolution particularly in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan and Angola.

"Trade is absolutely vital," she added.


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