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Troubled U.N. a Tinderbox

866 fire-code violations—but it doesn’t need to fix them.


The United Nations is downright rickety. “Commissioner Marjorie Tiven told me that there are 866 fire-code violations within the U.N. building,” Dan Gillerman, the Israeli ambassador, said at last week at Seeds of Peace annual gala. “I suppose if we want to feel safe not only in this world but in this building, we should take care of those first.” The modernist landmark is preparing for a $1.878 billion renovation and recently had its first safety inspection since 1952. “They found many, let’s call them directives, that were not complied with,” confirmed a U.N. spokeswoman. “We get certain privileges and immunities.” Areas of concern include lighting, sprinklers, and smoke alarms, says the U.N.’s facilities director, all set to be addressed prior to the renovation. But none of that will help Gillerman’s real gripe. “I would rather renovate the anti-Israel atmosphere in the U.N. than the building itself,” he said.

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