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    RUSSIA, BELARUS READY TO RESTORE IRAQ UNDER UN AEGIS

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    MINSK, February 2, 2004. /RIA Novosti correspondent/ - Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and his Belarussian counterpart Sergei Martynov have announced their countries' readiness to participate in restoration of Iraq under the UN aegis.

    After the joint collegium of the two ministries they told journalists that the subject of Iraq was not touched upon at the session.

    "However, as for Iraq, we do not need consultations on the issue, we maintain a permanent contact in this respect," Ivanov said.

    "After Iraq's sovereignty is restored, Russia with an overwhelming majority of states will be ready to participate more actively in the process of economic and political restoration of Iraq," he emphasized.

    At the same time, the current situation in the country "remains very difficult," taking into account the recent terrorist attacks in Baghdad and "it is too early to speak of a soon settlement," the Russian minister pointed out.

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