Secretary-General Kofi Annan will brief the members of the Security Council later this week on the status of contingency planning by the United Nations for humanitarian assistance for Iraq in the event of war.
The informal briefing, scheduled for Thursday in the Secretary-General's conference room, comes after Mr. Annan asked his Deputy, Louise Fréchette, about two months ago to consult with the various UN bodies for maximum coordination system-wide in the event of a humanitarian emergency, according to a UN spokesman, who noted that such planning is a normal part of the UN's work.
Speaking to reporters at a press encounter today, the Secretary-General said the briefing was a way to share with the Council members the UN’s thinking and basic planning, and the information it has through its research.
“As Secretary-General, I have made it very clear that I hope this issue can be resolved peacefully,” Mr. Annan said. “But of course we are also realistic, and we have handled previous crises before, and we are doing contingency planning – and I stress, contingency planning – without any expectation, any decision one way or the other, so that we will not be caught unprepared if things were to go the military way.”
He added that the UN has had enough experience in other crises to understand that it should make some arrangements and preparations, and after what happened in 1991 in Iraq, “we are not taking anything for granted.”