Two organizations which represent UN staff members have sent a joint letter to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, calling for the full withdrawal of UN staff from Iraq because of high risks to safety and security. The September 30 letter, released Wednesday, states that "just one staff member is one staff member too many in Iraq." The presidents of the Federation of International Civil Servants' Associations and the Coordinating Committee for International Staff Unions wrote, "We do not wish to contemplate the thought of U.N. staff being subject to hostage taking and threatened with execution at the mercy of those who know no mercy."
Last year, the UN pulled the international staff out of Iraq after 22 were killed in a bombing attack on the UN headquarters in Baghdad. In August, the UN allowed a small contingent to return to Iraq. AP has more.