Tuesday, December 20, 2011

U.S. supports U.N. plan to relocate group on terror list - 20th Dec 2011

The Obama administration "welcomes" a United Nations-led effort in Iraq to relocate a group on the State Department terrorism list, before an end-of-the-year deadline that could see heavy violence and a large humanitarian disaster unfold, senior administration officials said Monday.

The Iraqi government has said it will close Camp Ashraf -- the home of the Iranian opposition group Mujahedin-e Khalq, or MEK -- by December 31, without offering clear assurances the refugees will be protected against attacks by Iraqi forces, or reprisals from neighboring Iran. MEK has been on the U.S. terrorism list since 1997 because of the killing of six Americans in Iran in the 1970s, and an attempted attack against the Iranian mission to the United Nations in 1992.

The administration is supporting a plan led by Ambassador Martin Kobler, the U.N. special representative to Iraq, that would allow for a peaceful transfer of the approximately 3,400 residents of Camp Ashraf to a new facility in Iraq, one official said. The plan would also work to repatriate MEK members to Iran who go "voluntarily," or resettle to third countries under the auspices of the U.N., the official said. Read More