UN to evacuate children of international staff from Pakistan

October 2nd, 2008 - 7:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Oct 2 (DPA) A UN official said Thursday the organisation had decided to evacuate the children of its international staff in Pakistan following the suicide bombing of Islamabad’s Marriott hotel.”We had recommended to raise the security level for the UN staff from level two to level three, which has been recommended by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon,” a UN official told DPA on condition of anonymity as she was not supposed to talk to the media before the release of an official statement later Thursday.

However, the official said the evacuation did not necessarily mean the children were obliged to leave the country. “They can stay at some safer places within Pakistan but they would not be allowed to go to public places.”

The spouses of the international staff were still permitted to stay in the country, the official added.

The Marriott bombing, one of the deadliest in the country, killed 53 people and injured more than 250, including a Czech ambassador, two US marines and a Danish intelligence officer.

A previously unknown terrorist group, Fedayeen of Islam, claimed responsibility.

The UN decision came a day after the British government said around 60 children - all under the age of eight - of diplomats and staff at Britain’s High Commission in Pakistan will be repatriated under a security review.

“The core work of the High Commission will not be affected. The UK is committed to maintaining its strong relationship with Pakistan, especially at this difficult time,” said the statement from the Foreign Office.

It also advised British nationals against all non-essential travel and use of major international hotels frequented by Westerners.

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