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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Annan meets with advisory group on Iraq

1 December Secretary-General Kofi Annan met his advisory group on Iraq for the first time today, a move aimed at persuading countries in the region to support the same approach to the post-conflict country.

At the end of the meeting, Ambassador John Negroponte of the United States told reporters Mr. Annan had said he would appoint an acting Special Representative for Iraq very soon, but gave no details. The advisory group, meanwhile, shared ideas with Mr. Annan for improving Iraq's economic development, political outlook and military and police security.

In answer to a question at the daily briefing earlier Monday on the composition and functions of the group, Mr. Annan's spokesman, Fred Eckhard, said: "The Secretary-General has placed very strong emphasis on the need to get the neighbouring countries and the countries in the region on board, all supporting the same line of approach to Iraq.

"So that's the justification for the neighbours and for Egypt."

The neighbours included in the group are Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Turkey.

Last week the Security Council members of the group were named as the five veto-wielding permanent members - China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States - plus five of the 10 elected members - Angola, Chile, Germany, Pakistan and Spain.

"Their role is just to provide a sounding board, an informal advisory panel for his own thinking, ways he can be helpful and ways they can all work together to move the process in Iraq in the best possible directions," Mr. Eckhard said.

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