The United Nations today pledged the world body’s full help following the “catastrophic loss of hundreds of lives” when a large number of pilgrims, many of them women and children, died in the crush of a crowd crossing a bridge over the Tigris River in Baghdad.
In a statement issued at UN Headquarters in New York by his spokesman, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said he had learned “with great sadness of the human tragedy” and he expressed his deepest condolences to the Iraqi Government and to the families of the bereaved.
A statement issued in Baghdad by Mr. Annan's Special Representative (SRSG) to Iraq, Ashraf Qazi, said: “The United Nations hopes that Iraqis will come to the aid of one another at these trying times, and maintain the kind of unity and calm that will help in heeling the wounds and overcoming this national tragedy. The UN is ready to provide all help possible to the Iraqi people.”
Mr. Qazi expressed his “sympathy and solidarity with the Iraqi people at this time of national mourning over the catastrophic loss of hundreds of lives of Iraqi citizens, and the wounding of hundreds more, as they were conducting religious observances.”