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Rapid restoration of Iraqi sovereignty priority

Annan to seek rapid restoration of Iraqi sovereignty at Geneva meeting Saturday

Seeking to further define the role of the United Nations in Iraq and accelerate the early restoration of Iraqi national sovereignty, Secretary-General Kofi Annan will meet with the Foreign Ministers of the five permanent members of the Security Council in Geneva on Saturday, his spokesman announced today.

The meeting with the ministers of China, France, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and United States will review the current situation, consider options for the future, including security, the political transition and economic recovery in Iraq, and examine the implications for the role of the UN, the spokesman said in a statement.

“The Secretary-General hopes that the meeting will enable the permanent members to identify important points of convergence with the aim of ultimately allowing the full Council to arrive at a consensus that will accelerate the return to stability and the early restoration of Iraqi national sovereignty,” the statement added.

Yesterday at UN Headquarters in New York, Mr. Annan met with the representatives of all 15 Council members.

Saturday’s meeting comes as the United States prepares to submit a new resolution to the Council, which according to published reports would create a multinational force for Iraq led by Washington and authorized by the UN in an effort to win greater participation from countries unwilling to serve without UN authorization.

Mr. Annan is scheduled to leave this evening for Geneva to attend a meeting on Friday of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee, an umbrella group that coordinates the humanitarian work of the UN, non-government organizations and the Red Cross movement.

He convened the meeting to discuss the future role and presence of humanitarian groups in Iraq, as well as more general issues revolving around the need to ensure a humanitarian presence in insecure environments.

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