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    SECURITY SITUATION IN IRAQ BECOMES INTOLERABLE

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    MOSCOW, March 17, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - The situation with security in Iraq is aggravating, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has announced.

    "The situation in the security sphere in Iraq is still degrading," he said at a press conference. This is a sufficient reason to start political settlement in the country under the UN auspices, he believes.

    When asked to comment on the decision of Spanish authorities to withdraw troops from Iraq, Mr. Lavrov pointed out that this issue was in exclusive jurisdiction of the Spanish government.

    Dwelling on the UN's central role in settling the Iraqi conflict, Mr. Lavrov said, "Now, after the Cold War, in the epoch of globalization, when the restraining factors of fight against new threats and challenges have collapsed, it is very important to find the only answer." In his opinion, now, when the threat of terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is increasing, the role of the UN is growing significantly.

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