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UNSC Slams Killing of UN staff in Afghanistan

UNITED NATIONS, April 1 (Xinhua) — The UN Security Council on Friday condemned “in the strongest terms” a deadly attack on the UN mission in north Afghanistan, in which seven UN staff were confirmed killed in a protest over the burning of a copy of Muslim holy book Koran by a U.S. pastor, calling on the Afghan government to bring those responsible for the attack to justice.

The condemnation was contained in a statement read to the press here by Nestor Osorio, the Colombian UN ambassador who holds the rotating Council presidency for April, at the end of an emergency meeting, which kicked off here at around 5 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT) on Friday to discuss the deadly attack on the UN compound in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif.

“The members of the Security Council condemn in the strongest terms the violent attack against the United Nations Operation Center in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif,” Osorio said.

Earlier, Alain Le Roy, the UN under-secretary-general for peacekeeping operations, told reporters that all the seven killed were international staff working with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

“The members of the Security Council express their deep condolences to the families of the victims, the thoughts of the Security Council members are with the wounded and with all UNAMA personnel,” Osorio said in the statement.

“The members of the Security Council condemn all incitement to and acts of violence,” Osorio said. “They call on the government of Afghanistan to bring those responsible to justice and take all possible steps with the assistance of ISAF (the International Security Assistance Force) as appropriate to protect UN personnel and premises.”

“The members of the Security Council reaffirm their support for the people and the government of Afghanistan, their support for the crucial work that the United Nations is doing in partnership with the government for the benefit of all Afghans and the Council ‘s commitment to a secure and stable Afghanistan,” Osorio said.

Earlier on Friday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, while on his visit to Kenya, told reporters in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi that he condemned the attack as being “outrageous and cowardly.”

The Friday killing of UN staff would be the highest ever loss of life in an attack on the United Nations in Afghanistan. The last attack was an insurgent assault on a Kabul guest house where UN staff were staying in October 2009, in which five UN staffers were killed and nine other wounded.

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