Fri, Feb 07, 2003 - Page 1 News List

UN practices its own kind of cover-up

REUTERS , UNITED NATIONS

In a bold cover-up, the UN on Wednesday concealed behind a blue cloth and a row of flags the world body's treasured tapestry of Guernica, the celebrated Picasso anti-war masterpiece.

The tapestry hangs outside the UN Security Council, where US Secretary of State Colin Powell was presenting the US case that Iraq is hiding weapons of mass destruction and war may be needed to make sure it disarms.

But UN officials insisted no symbolism was intended in the decision to hide the tapestry.

The cover and flags were meant only to provide a strong visual clue to television cameras filming diplomats in the corridor, the officials said.

Guernica, by Picasso, commemorates a small Basque village in northern Spain that was used by Germany for bombing practice for more than three hours on April 27, 1937.

The raid killed or wounded some 1,600 civilians and left the village in flames for three days. The original painting is now in Spain.

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