UN mourns killing of 21 staff in Ethiopia plane crash

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(United States) – Flags flew at half-staff at the United Nations after 21 UN employees were killed in an Ethiopian Airlines plane crash that Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said marked a “sad day” for the world body.

Guterres led delegates at the opening of the annual gathering on women´s rights at the General Assembly in observing a moment of silence in honor of the victims.

“A global tragedy has hit close to home – and the United Nations is united in grief,” he said at the Commission on the Status of Women.

UN ambassadors opened a Security Council meeting on Afghanistan by standing in silence for the victims of Flight ET302, which crashed Sunday shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa. All 157 people onboard were killed.

Among the dead were many traveling to a UN environment conference in Nairobi.

The World Food Programme lost seven staff in the crash while three employees of the UN refugee agency UNHCR were killed.

Three others worked for the UN office in Nairobi and there were also victims from the International Organization for Migration, the UN Environment agency, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Telecommunication Union, the UN office in Somalia, the UN Development Programme and the World Bank.