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  Sunday, February 23, 2020
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Russia's foreign minister said Wednesday the situation in Iraq has deteriorated because there is no national consensus on the way the country should be run
Russia's foreign minister said Wednesday the situation in Iraq has deteriorated because there is no national consensus on the way the country should be run. Speaking during a two-day official visit to Slovakia, Sergei Lavrov said: "Only now, after hundreds of thousands of coalition servicemen and Iraqi citizens have lost their lives, is attention being paid to ... starting a process of national agreement." Russia opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and advocated a stronger role for the UN in dealing with the crisis. Lavrov said that since the American-led military coalition announced the end of major operations in May 2003 and asked the UN for help in establishing a postwar peace, Russia had "insisted on the need, as a first step, to gather all political, ethnic, and religious groups in Iraq, so that the Iraqis themselves can agree on the stages and formats of the political process." "To our enormous regret, this did not happen," he said. He also expressed regret at the delays in forming an Iraqi government, and said all decisions on the country's future should be taken by Iraqis themselves, without any attempts at external interference.
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