UNITED NATIONS--U.N. officials yesterday reported the easing of a financial crunch that threatened to dissolve the U.N. force protecting Kurds in northern Iraq from attacks by Saddam Hussein's troops.
U.N. spokesperson Nadia Younes announced recent donations of $6.26 million from Germany, $545,000 from Luxembourg and $300,000 from Norway.
At the same time, Britain announced it would give $1 million more to the guard force, in addition to the $6 million donated earlier in the year.
Younes said Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar had let the force decline from its authorized strength of 500 to about 360 as of this week as tours of duty started expiring and voluntary funding for the force lagged.
She said the guards who had gone home would be replaced.
On Tuesday, a statement issued from U.N. headquarters in Geneva had warned, "Unless urgent funding requirements are met immediately, all remaining guards will be repatriated by early January."
The home office for the guard force is in Geneva.
Meanwhile, U.N. inspectors just back from Iraq reported yesterday that Baghdad did not properly destroy all of its massive "supergun," which was capable of raining shells on Israel or Saudi Arabia.
A U.N. ballistic inspection team, part the Special Commission overseeing the dismantling of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, told superiors that 22 sections of the supergun barrel and some hydraulic buffers were not properly destroyed, as ordered by a previous inspection visit, officials said.
However, inspectors said the remaining parts were not enough to build a working supergun, and they believed the problem was due simply to sloppy demolition work by Iraqi workers at the cite in the western desert near Jordan.
The Iraqis had assembled and test-fired a smaller version of the gun that was located north of Baghdad. That gun was demolished during a previous inspection visit.
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