MOSCOW - A top diplomat said Thursday that Russia would be willing to consider any proposals on an international force for Iraq, but said the main responsibility for maintaining security the country lies with the U.S.-led coalition that toppled Saddam Hussein.
"Right now at U.N. headquarters in New York, a discussion on security (in Iraq) is pending, but nobody has made any concrete proposals on this yet," Deputy Foreign Minister Yuri Fedotov told the Interfax news agency. "When such proposals are made, Russia will be ready to study them and participate in their consideration."
However, Fedotov added that "the main responsibility for security of UN personnel and for maintaining security in Iraq in general lies with the coalition forces, in accordance with international law and the responsibilities they took on with Security Council resolution No. 1483."
On Wednesday, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said a multinational force for Iraq was under discussion as a possibility for improving security, but he ruled out the deployment of a U.N. peacekeeping force.
Russia vehemently opposed the invasion of Iraq and has called for a broad postwar role for the United Nations.