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Russian Foreign Minister Calls for International Involvement in Iraqi Reconstruction - 2003-07-22

Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov is calling for a new United Nations Security Council resolution to allow other countries to help the United States bring order and stability to Iraq.

Foreign Minister Ivanov says Russia believes a new Security Council resolution is needed to give the international community the legal basis to become more actively involved in Iraq's post-war reconstruction.

Russia has been seeking a central role for the United Nations in rebuilding Iraq since heavy combat ended there. But the United States has said that coalition nations would take the lead.

Speaking in Moscow Tuesday, Mr. Ivanov said with security conditions in Iraq on the decline, it is time for the Security Council to consider measures to broaden international participation.

Mr. Ivanov said a Security Council meeting taking place later on Tuesday is very important because he says he believes it is still possible to reverse the violence and usher in peace. But he says that will only be possible if other members of the international community, in addition to the United States and Britain, are allowed to participate.

Mr. Ivanov said the efforts of legitimate representatives of the Iraqi people and the international community need to be combined to ensure the return of peace and stability.

His comments come as the Security Council is about to begin discussing a report from U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan on post-war conditions in Iraq. In his report, Mr. Annan reportedly lists broader ways in which the United Nations can help in the reconstruction process.

Russia's deputy foreign minister, Alexander Yakovenko, said Russia supports the proposals and hopes to see the U.N. role in Iraq "intensified."