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    Russia agrees to take part in Baghdad conference on Iraq

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    Russia has accepted an invitation from Iraq to take part in an international conference in Baghdad this March on the current situation in the Middle East country, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Thursday.

    MOSCOW, March 1 (RIA Novosti) -- Russia has accepted an invitation from Iraq to take part in an international conference in Baghdad this March on the current situation in the Middle East country, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Thursday.

    The Iraqi government came up with the initiative for the conference as the situation in the country has deteriorated and invited the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, countries neighboring Iraq and interested regional organizations to the event.

    "We have and will continue to support all ideas and proposals consistent with this approach," Mikhail Kamynin, a spokesman for the ministry, said in a statement.

    Early last month the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the current crisis in Iraq could only be addressed through combined international efforts.

    "Measures are needed to promote national reconciliation which involve all Arab political forces, and with the support of all Iraq's neighbors, regional organizations, the Arab League and the UN," he said.

    Kamynin said that Moscow hopes for a successful outcome at the conference and that it will "create the conditions for the next meeting of a broader international forum at foreign ministerial level."

    Following the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the subsequent overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime, Iraq quickly sank into sectarian violence from which it has yet to emerge.

    All ongoing international efforts to restore peace and stability in Iraq have so far proved futile, and Russia, which has always opposed the war, has repeatedly called on the international community to withdraw foreign troops from the country.

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