Iraq

Security Council to hold closed meeting on Iraq

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Reacting to the latest developments on Iraq, the Security Council will hold closed consultations this morning to discuss the rapidly evolving situation.
According to a United Nations spokesman, the Council scheduled the meeting take up the joint declaration issued over the weekend by France, Germany and the Russian Federation.

Meanwhile in Vienna, the United States has told the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) to pull their weapons inspectors out of Iraq, IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei said today.

Mr. ElBaradei told a meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors that he had received the advisory last night and immediately sought guidance from the President of the Security Council and informed UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The Council is expected to take up the issue today, he added.

"Naturally, the safety of our staff remains our primary consideration at this difficult time," he said. "I earnestly hope - even at this late hour - that a peaceful resolution of the issue can be achieved, and that the world can be spared a war."