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US raises new objections to UN resolution on protecting aid workers

The United States has raised new objections to a proposed UN Security Council resolution on protecting aid workers in conflict zones by declaring attacks against them to be war crimes, US officials said. Having successfully fought to remove a reference to the International Criminal Court (ICC), which Washington vehemently opposes, US diplomats are now lobbying to remove language that would automatically label all such attacks war crimes, the officials said. The United States is concerned that the blanket categorization now in the Mexican-sponsored resolution could affect US troops who, in the heat of combat, accidentally fire on people later found to have been aid workers, they said. Mexico proposed the resolution after last week’s attack on the UN headquarters in Baghdad which killed 23 people, including the main UN envoy to Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello. “The language the Mexicans want is that all attacks on humanitarian workers are war crimes,” one official said. “We certainly deplore these kinds of attacks but there has to be some provision for what happens in the fog of war. “We want to exclude accidental deaths and incidents that aren’t intentionally directed against non-combatant aid workers,” the official said. A second official said the United States was working with Mexico and that a compromise was expected to be reached shortly. Full Story

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