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    MOSCOW, April 6, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - The deterioration of the situation in Iraq can have the most dangerous and unpredictable consequences for integrity of Iraq and for the stability of the entire region, said Alexander Yakovenko, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, in a statement that RIA Novosti received on Tuesday.

    "Moscow is concerned about the degradation of the situation in the region which is reaching a qualitatively new level," Mr. Yakovenko said.

    He noted that the deterioration of security nullifies economic and social rehabilitation efforts and aggravates the Iraqi people's situation.

    "Now, it is important to stop the untwisting spiral of violence," the statement says. "For this purpose, it is necessary that the Iraqis decide their destiny on their own, restore sovereignty, and become a full and equal member of the world community once again."

    The international community must give the Iraqis effective assistance in shaping a democratic state, and in preserving the country's unity and territorial integrity, Mr. Yakovenko stated.

    Convocation of a conference under the UN aegis at which all the political forces of Iraq would be broadly represented and which would map out strategy of a stable Iraqi settlement would help achieve this goal, Mr. Yakovenko said.

    "Only wide participation of the world community, including Iraq's neighbors, and the United Nations in an active role can give positive dynamism to Iraqi settlement," Mr. Yakovenko said. "Russia is ready to assist this in every way in cooperation with the Iraqis and the partners in the region, and in the UN Security Council."

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