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Italian PM Meets UN Special Envoy for Iraq - 2004-04-19

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi met in Rome Monday with the U.N. special envoy for Iraq, Lakhdar Brahimi. Mr Berlusconi confirmed the Italian government's backing for a greater United Nations role in Iraq aimed at bringing peace and stability to the country.

Talks between the Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and the Algerian-born U.N. special envoy for Iraq, Lakhdar Brahimi, focused on the future role to be played by the United Nations in Iraq. The two men met Monday evening in Rome.

A statement issued by the premier's office said Mr. Berlusconi told the U.N. envoy that Italy wants a greater role for the U.N. in Iraq. Mr. Berlusconi underlined, the statement added, that a new U.N. resolution will help the transfer of power and strengthen international credibility in the new Iraqi government.

Following his meeting with the Mr. Brahimi, Prime Minister Berlusconi said Italian troops will remain in Iraq to help the transfer of power to the new Iraqi government. He said Italian troops will stay to guarantee security and to allow the start of economic reconstruction.

Mr. Brahimi also held a meeting with Foreign Minister Franco Frattini earlier Monday in the central city of Bologna. After that meeting, Mr. Frattini said he endorsed a proposal by the U.N. envoy to transfer sovereignty in Iraq to a caretaker government.

The foreign minister said he would ask the United States in meetings starting Tuesday in Washington to give the U.N. "real powers" in Iraq.