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Annan and Blair Meeting Has Iraq Top On Agenda

Iraq to top agenda of meeting between Annan and UK's Blair

Iraq will top the agenda for tonight's meeting between United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and British Prime Minister Tony Blair as they review the current situation, seek a way forward and discuss the UN's role in that country.

"We have always felt that there was a role for us to play, and had always been prepared to play that role, once the circumstances were right," the Secretary-General told reporters in New York. "I am pleased that all governments, including the US, are cooperating very closely with us."

Asked how important it was for a fully-fledged return of the UN to Iraq, the Secretary-General stressed that it was clear from the discussions undertaken by his Special Adviser, Lakhdar Brahimi, that in addition to UN help the Iraqis themselves have a lot to do.

"We will assist, but I don't think we need the UN to do it for them. They have talent, and I think, given the right conditions, if the security can be brought under control, I think there's a lot that the Iraqis can do themselves," he said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Brahimi and his team left Iraq and are now in Kuwait, a UN spokesperson said.

Prior to leaving, Mr. Brahimi spent the day in the southern city of Basra, where he continued his wide-ranging contacts. He had the opportunity to meet with representatives of civil society, civil servants, religious parties and clerics, as well as tribal personalities.

Mr. Brahimi also met with the Coalition Provisional Authority's representative in southern Iraq, Pat Nixon.

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