Secretary-General Kofi Annan's representative for Iraq has met with France's Foreign Minister and other senior French officials for talks that focused on preparations for the ministerial meeting on Iraq to be held on 22 June in Brussels.
Special Representative of the Secretary-General Ashraf Qazi and Foreign Minister Michel Barnier also discussed the role of the United Nations in coordinating international assistance to Iraq, as well as the current political and security situation in the country.
According to the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), Mr. Qazi welcomed the more active role of France and its European partners at what he called a critical stage in Iraq's political transition. The two sides pledged to maintain close contacts in the period ahead.
Under the umbrella of UNAMI, 18 UN organizations are working together to coordinate international aid to Iraq and to offer assistance in the rebuilding of the country.
In other developments, Iraq has requested the Security Council to allow the continuation of the mandate of the Multinational Force (MNF).
According to Council resolution 1546, the mandate of the MNF must be reviewed either at the request of the Government of Iraq or by 8 June. The Council mandate for the force will expire when the political process leading to a permanent, constitutionally-elected government is completed, or earlier if requested by the Iraqi authorities.
"To complete the transitional process endorsed in resolution 1546 and build on political achievements to date," Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari wrote in his letter to the Council, "we need the MNF to continue providing its essential contributions to our security."