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Ironduke
24 Aug 03,, 02:47
Iraq envoy honoured in Brazil

Brazil is paying its respects to Sergio Vieira de Mello, the UN special envoy killed in a truck bomb in Iraq last Tuesday.
A memorial service was held in Rio de Janeiro, the city where he was born in 1948, after his body was brought back aboard a Brazilian military aircraft, accompanied by his widow Annie and two sons.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silvia both honoured a man they said had died a hero serving the cause of peace.

Two senators have proposed that Vieira de Mello be nominated posthumously for the Nobel Peace Prize.

The UN special envoy was one of at least 23 people killed in the suicide attack on the UN offices in Baghdad on Tuesday.


His coffin, draped with the Brazilian and UN flags, is to remain lying in state at Rio's City Palace before being flown to Europe for burial.

'Fighter for peace'

A grim-faced Mr Annan told those present that it was Mr Vieira de Mello's wish that the UN should remain in Iraq.

"His dying wish was that the United Nations mission there should not be pulled out. Let us respect that."


The Brazilian president, who declared three days of national mourning for the dead diplomat, said he was more than a national hero.

"He was a world hero because few fought for world peace like he did."


The BBC's Peter Greste in Rio says the death of Sergio Vieira de Mello has shocked Brazil, although as an international civil servant who spent most of his working life abroad, he was not particularly well-known there.

Since his death the papers have been saturated with the tragedy.

The war in Iraq has, until now, been something happening in another country to other people and this death has brought it home, our correspondent adds.

Iraq's Governing Council described the Brazilian diplomat as "a friend of the Iraqi people" and called for a monument to be put up in his memory.

He is succeeded by Ramiro Lopes da Silva, the UN humanitarian co-ordinator for Iraq, whom UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan named to the post on Friday.

Mr Vieira de Mello's funeral is expected to take place on Monday in the small French town of Thonon-les-Bains on the Swiss border.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3175385.stm