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Bloomberg: United Nations complex unsafe

Nov. 12, 2007 at 9:31 AM

UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg says he won't let city schoolchildren visit the United Nations building if it doesn't fix fire safety hazards by March.

"If the United Nations does not adhere to these deadlines, the city will be forced to direct the cessation of all public school visits to the United Nations," Bloomberg wrote in an Oct. 30 letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, The Washington Times reported Monday.

The 17-acre compound, built in the early 1950s, lacks fire detectors and sprinklers on many floors, the Times reported. So far, fewer than 20 percent of 866 violations found by city fire officials last January have been fixed, the Times reported.

Alicia Barcena, the U.N. undersecretary-general for administration and management, said U.N. officials are trying to comply but face budget constraints.

"We are using money from savings and other budgets," Barcena said. "We need New York City to feel safe, and we are going to do the best we can."

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