UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday voiced continued concerns about security in Iraq even as he announced plans to open a regional support office in Baghdad, part of the UN's efforts to expand its presence in the war-torn country.
"Security is still a problem," Ban said, as Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki sat beside him in a joint news conference in which the Iraqi premier stressed that gains realized on the security front. The two were speaking after a meeting that grouped top diplomats representing many of Iraq's neighbors, the United States, donor nations and other groups.
Ban emphasized his hope that "more would be done" on the security front and said the U.N. would build its presence on the ground as the situation improved. The UN has maintained a reduced presence in Iraq since after an August 19, 2003, bombing at its Baghdad headquarters that killed 22 people.
But Ban stressed that there was clear agreement in the meeting that the international community cannot turn away from Iraq. "Its stability is our common concern."