UNITED NATIONS, March 18 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon on Monday welcomed an offer by the Albanian government to grant humanitarian admission to 210 residents of Camp Hurriya ( Liberty) in Iraq to Albania.
"The Secretary-General continues to follow closely the situation of the former residents of Camp Ashraf who are presently waiting for relocation from Camp Hurriya," said a statement issued here by Ban's spokesperson.
Ban expected the residents to positively respond to Albania's offer and to cooperate with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to relocate in the coming days, the statement said.
The UN chief underscored the responsibility assumed by the government of Iraq to "ensure the safety and security of residents of both Camp Hurriya and Camp Ashraf and prevent any incidents," and urged other UN member states to "follow suit and to offer (the camp) residents a safe relocation outside of Iraq, in light of their need for international protection."
"The Secretary-General believes it is important to continue moving the relocation process forward. This is the best hope for a peaceful and humanitarian resolution to this issue," said the statement. "It offers the former residents of Camp Ashraf a more hopeful and secure future outside of Iraq."
Camp Hurriya, which now has over 3,000 residents, is located near the Baghdad airport in the southwest of the Iraqi capital.
The Iranian exiles, named the People's Mujahideen Organization of Iran (PMOI) and also known as Mujahideen Khalq Organization ( MKO), were relocated last year under the supervision of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) from their former base Camp Ashraf -- near the city of Khalis and some 60 km northeast of Baghdad -- to Camp Hurriya.
PMOI is a self-claimed Marxist and Islamic movement. It was founded in 1965 in opposition to the shah of Iran and subsequently fought to oust the Islamic regime that took power in the 1979 revolution. The group fled to Iraq in 1986, and got permission from Iran's foe Saddam Hussein to set up Camp Ashraf in Iraq's eastern province of Diyala near the Iranian border.
After the PMOI fighters were disarmed following the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, the camp remained under the protection of the U. S. military police for five years before the Iraqi government took over the security responsibility.
The UN has frequently urged the international community to speed up its efforts to resettle the Iranian exiles in third countries.
Camp Hurriya has seen a recent deterioration of security situation for its residents, with a Feb. 9 mortar attack on the camp killing eight and wounding dozens, and subsequent threats made against the residents.