( dpa )- UN and Algerian officials held discussions to iron out differences over the establishment of an international panel to review security for UN personnel worldwide following an attack in Algiers that killed 17 staff members, the UN said Monday.
The Algerian government last week rejected the panel and called it a unilateral move by UN Secretary General Ban Ki -moon when he announced the appointment of international experts to investigate the December 11 attacks against the UN office in Algiers.
UN spokeswoman Michelle Montas said Ban's chief of cabinet Vijay Nambiar met with the Algerian UN ambassador over the weekend in an effort to defuse the controversy over the panel.
"The panel is not a criminal investigation," Montas said. She said it will look at "specific lessons" learned from the Algiers attacks.
She said Ban's intention is to enhance security and safety for UN personnel around the world.
"What is important is to make a concerted effort to fight international terrorism and prevent such acts from occurring again, and this is the whole purpose of the panel," she said.
Algeria and the UN have appeared at odds since the incident. The office of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in Algiers, which housed several other UN agencies, collapsed under the bomb attack.
UNDP Executive Director Kemal Dervis said last week he had urged the Algerian government to strengthen protective measures for the premise and those requests were not met.
The attack killed 14 Algerians, a Dane, a Filipino and a Senegalese who worked for the UN. It also killed at least 50 other people.
The UN conducted internal investigation, which was said to be insufficient and decided to call for an independent panel with international experts.
The Algiers attacks were the second deadliest attack on the UN since August 2003, when the office of the UN mission in Baghdad was bombed, killing a total of 22 UN personnel, including the mission's chief Sergio Vieira de Mello.