Thursday, March 20, 2003

SOMALIA: EC advises partners to evacuate staff
NAIROBI, 20 MARCH 2003 (IRIN) - The European Commission (EC) has advised international NGOs whose operations it funds in Somalia to evacuate their international staff.

The recommendation "to consider evacuation of their international staff from Somalia with immediate effect" was given to the NGOs on Thursday "as a precautionary measure until such time as the situation can be assessed as normal".

According to an EC advisory note, received by IRIN, it said that in view of the military action against Iraq, the EC delegation was urging its partners "at the very least to reduce their international staff inside Somalia to the absolute minimum".

International NGO sources told IRIN there was concern that the US government's military action in Iraq "may create adverse conditions in Somalia", a mainly Muslim country.

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