Algeria unwelcome the UN investigation decision on its headquarters bombing

Algeria does not welcome a United Nations investigation into a bombing that killed 17 U.N. staff because the move was decided without consulting Algerian authorities, the prime minister said. The U.N. said on Monday that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had appointed an independent panel to probe the December 11 bombing in Algiers.

The government daily, El Moudjahid, quoted Prime Minister Abdelaziz Belkhadem on Wednesday as saying the Algerian ambassador at the U.N. had not been consulted and "Algeria's view on this issue has not been taken into consideration". The move "can not be welcomed favourably because Algeria is doing its duty with regard to the subject in question", the newspaper quoted Belkhadem as saying. The probe was a "unilateral move", he said.

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing of U.N. buildings in Algiers and another attack the same day that killed a total of at least 41 people, according to officials, including 17 U.N. employees. Medical sources say more than 60 people were killed in the two car bombings.

Ban's spokeswomen Michele Montas said on Monday the team would be asked "to establish all the facts concerning the Algiers attack and also to address ... staff security for the United Nations in its operations around the world."

© Algiers, Reuters 2007. All Rights Reserved

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