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    QUESTION OF FURTHER MILITARY PRESENCE IN IRAQ MAY BE DECIDED ONLY BY UN SECURITY COUNCIL

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    MOSCOW, April 8, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - The question of military presence in Iraq after sovereignty is handed over to the Iraqi people must be decided only by the UN Security Council, Alexander Yakovenko, an official Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman, told a news conference in RIA Novosti.

    He was commenting on a statement by Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld that American troops would stay in Iraq after June 30, when it is planned to transfer power to the Iraqi people.

    "If an appropriate UN Security Council resolution is adopted, it will also contain a provision regulating military presence in Iraq," Mr. Yakovenko said.

    "Only the UN Security Council can make a legitimate decision. All the remaining issues should be spelled out in the Security Council resolution," the spokesman stressed.

    The government in Iraq should be legitimate, he added.

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