Russia pushing for another international conference on Iraq

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DAMASCUS, July 4 (RIA Novosti, Nadim Zuaui) - Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Saltanov pushed Russia's proposal for another conference on Iraq on Monday, saying that more international assistance was needed to calm the troubled state.

"We believe the situation in Iraq requires joint international assistance to promote the political process in the country, and in the interests of stabilization," he said.

Saltanov added that participants in last November's meeting at the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm-el-Sheikh agreed that G8 countries, permanent UN Security Council members, Iraq's neighbors, and the League of Arab States "would not only follow developments in Iraq but also assist dialog in the country."

He said Russia and many of its partners agree that "this is the only way to give Iraq a decent future, consolidate its statehood and sovereignty, and preserve territorial integrity."

It is crucial for Iraqis to develop a national dialog and involve all the country's patriotic forces in the political process, Saltanov said.

"The international community should use various mechanisms available to promote the process," he said.

Saltanov added that these ideas had not been fully realized after the Sharm-el-Sheikh meeting, and that now is the time to try again. A group of countries representing the international community should give more active assistance in finding a final settlement, he said.

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