On behalf of the Romanian Government, the Permanent Mission of Romania to the Office of the United Nations and other international organizations in Switzerland presents the following statement with respect to the attack against the United Nations Headquarters in Baghdad, on 19 August 2003:

1. It is very hard to describe in a few words the horror we felt at hearing the terrible news. The heinous terrorist attack against the United Nations premises in Baghdad, which led to the tragic death of Sergio Vieira de Mello, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Special Representative of the United Nations in Iraq, and of his colleagues, represents a multiple crime.

It is a premeditated and cowardly crime against the United Nations, the very embodiment of our strive for a better world, which has never stopped working to contain violence, to bring hope and alleviation of the suffering of peoples on all continents.

It is a crime against peace, long waited and well deserved by a people so hardly tried by wars, sanctions and dictatorship.

It is a crime against human rights and humanitarian missions, since the symbolism of this unprecedented subspecies of terrorism is crystal clear.

It is a crime against the Iraqi people, since the perspective of peace, stability and recovery are once again delayed, in defiance of the manifest wish of the ordinary Iraqi men and women.

It is a crime against justice and democracy, as the terrorist attacks are the lonely fight of a minority to preserve power and privileges for itself and do not serve any national interest or public good.

It is a crime against the international community as a whole, as its perpetrators continue manipulating the deep feelings of the majority of the Iraqi population towards their homeland and God, in an attempt to make them turn against the rest of the world.

Nothing can justify these useless crimes. No one can be cheated further by primitive slogans. What happened on 19 August in Baghdad is a shameful page of history that brought no service to the Iraqi people and its aspirations.

2. These terrorist attack made Sergio Vieira de Mello and his colleagues martyrs of the United Nations.

We can only hope that this martyrdom will not inhibit the painstaking efforts of the international community and of the Iraqi people aimed at bringing peace and stability into this cradle of the human civilization.

We can only hope that all of us will better understand the mission of the United Nations and its invaluable work it has done over almost sixty years of existence.

We might learn to see more clearly how difficult and risky is the work of anonymous individuals who are exposing themselves daily to high risks in peacekeeping, peacebuilding and humanitarian operations in the field.

We may even reflect more on how much respect and recognition the United Nations deserves in the discharge of its noble duty to prevent the worse to happen.

We may also think twice on how much more we owe to the United Nations and to its servants, in terms of political support and financial resources.

Let us hope that the absurd deaths of our friends and colleagues in Baghdad will add wisdom to our search for peace and human dignity and strengthen our common will to continue to fight against terrorism and other forms of blind violence.

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