U.N. Mission Strikes Sour Note On Iraq

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UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 9 (UPI) — Armed violence and widespread poverty continue to affect the lives of Iraqi citizens, a report from the U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq said.

Iraqi lawmakers agreed to let the country’s prime minister approach U.S. officials about the possibility of keeping U.S. military trainers in the country beyond a Dec. 31 deadline for withdrawal spelled out in a 2008 bilateral status of forces agreement.

U.S. State Department officials last week said Washington was “ready to talk” about the possibilities but said they were of the opinion that Iraqi forces were “strong enough” to address their security needs.

The latest report from the U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq, in coordination with the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, concluded that the situation in Iraq was still troubling, however.

“Widespread poverty, economic stagnation, lack of opportunities, environmental degradation and an absence of basic services constitute ‘silent’ human rights violations that affect large sectors of the population,” the report reads.

Stuart Bowen, the U.S. special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, warned in a July report to Congress that Iraq was a very dangerous place more than eight years after the initial U.S.-led invasion.

“It is less safe, in my judgment, than 12 months ago,” he wrote.

UNAMI notes that around 3,000 Iraqi civilians were killed in 2010, largely as a result of insurgent activity.

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