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Calls for greater UN role in Iraq multiply

Calls for greater UN role in Iraq multiply

The top United Nations envoy for Iraq heard more calls for broadening the world body's role there while visiting neighbouring Iran today even as major governments, including the United States, which runs the current ruling Provisional Authority in Baghdad, are raising that possibility with Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Iranian President Mohammed Khatami told Mr. Annan's Special Representative, Sergio Vieira de Mello, that a greater UN role in Iraq would bring a greater chance for the establishment of peace. In a meeting in Tehran, Mr. Khatami said Iran, which fought a war with Iraq from 1980 to 1988, stands willing to work with the UN to restore peace and stability in that country, thus benefiting the entire region.

Mr. Annan told reporters at UN Headquarters in New York yesterday that he had discussed with US Secretary of State Colin Powell during his visit to Washington earlier this week the possibility of another Security Council resolution giving a UN flag to future stabilization activities in Iraq.

"Yes, indeed, Secretary Powell and I discussed it, and it also came up in my discussion with (majority leader) Senator [Bill] Frist and other Senators on the Hill, who also felt the operation needs to be internationalized, and other Governments brought in," he said in reply to a question.

Mr. Annan said Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov also raised with him in a telephone conversation yesterday "the need, as he saw it, to broaden the UN's mandate and internationalize the operations."

Council members will have to be consulted, discussions will be going on "and I am sure, if there is will, they will find the language to broaden and internationalize the process," he added.

When Mr. Vieira de Mello and a delegation from the newly established Iraqi Governing Council visit New York next week, Mr. Annan said he would deliver a report to the Security Council on "what the United Nations is doing now, and what we think we can do in the future, really giving clear indication of our activities and possible activities."

Mr. Vieira de Mello heard the same message for a greater UN role when he visited Syria yesterday as part of his efforts to involve all sectors of Iraqi society and Iraq's neighbours in reconstructing and restoring the sovereignty of the war-torn country.

© Scoop Media

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