UN cafeteria closed due to "suspicious envelope"

10:51, February 19, 2010      

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UN guards stand outside a cafeteria that is closed due to a "suspicious envelope" at the UN Secretariat Building in New York, the United States, Feb. 18, 2010. The UN cafeteria was closed on Thursday afternoon due to a "suspicious envelope" found in the area, Farhan Haq, the associate UN spokesman, said here Thursday. (Xinhua/Bai Jie)


The UN cafeteria was closed on Thursday afternoon due to a "suspicious envelope" found in the area, Farhan Haq, the associate UN spokesman, said here.

The Department of Safety and Security (DSS) says there was a " suspicious envelope," Haq said. "The area is temporarily closed and that area has been contained."

"The DSS is working with host country to investigate the matter, " he said, referring to the United States which hosts the world body.

The cafeteria was closed at around 14:30 EST, and cafeteria staff members, some in white working uniform, were seen standing in the south lobby which is close to the entrance to the cafeteria.

UN security guards were also seen near the entrance, and a plainclothes officer told the waiting cafeteria staff members that they could take their belongings later from the cafeteria and go home before the closing hour.

The UN Secretariat Building is located on the First Avenue, between the 42nd Street and 48th Street in Manhattan, central New York City.

The United Nations, which leads the world in anti-terrorism campaign, often stages drill against fire and other terrorist acts.

On Nov. 11, 2009, Russia became the sixth UN mission in New York City to receive a letter containing white powder after an envelope was found at the diplomatic post on Manhattan's Upper East Side overnight.

The UN missions of Austria, France, Britain, Germany and Uzbekistan all received letters containing white powder in the previous two days. More than 40 people were decontaminated as a precaution after the letters were found.

The U.S. authorities have been on alert for mail with white powder in it since 2001, when envelopes laced with anthrax were sent to media outlets and U.S. lawmakers, killing five people.

Source: Xinhua
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