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Gas Leak Odor Forces Evacuation At United Nations

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The United Nations complex is seen on the East Side - New York, NY - Apr 16, 2008 - Photo: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

The United Nations complex is seen on the East Side (file/credit: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

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UNITED NATIONS (AP/CBS 2) - U.N. security officials evacuated the buildings where the Security Council and the General Assembly had been scheduled to meet because of a suspicious odor apparently caused by a gas leak in the basement, U.N. officials said.

The landmark 39-story Secretariat building overlooking the East River is currently under renovation but the Security Council has been meeting in the basement. The adjoining General Assembly building is still being used, ahead of its overhaul.

U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq confirmed the evacuations because of the suspicious odor. Security officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. They said it was a suspected gas leak.

The temporary four-story building constructed on the north lawn of the U.N. complex, where Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has his offices, was also briefly evacuated.

But U.N. staff and diplomats were allowed to return and the Security Council and General Assembly meetings were moved to conference rooms in the north lawn building.

The evacuation delayed a morning Security Council event for members to hear the views of young people, including 150 New York City students, planned by U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, in her capacity as this month’s council president. It also delayed General Assembly action on dozens of pending resolutions.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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