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Chirac, Blair Discuss Iraq Issue by Phone
French President Jacques Chirac discussed on Saturday the Iraqi issue with British Prime Minister Tony Blair by phone, reiterating that the rebuilding of Iraq should only be carried out under the leadership of the United Nations.

French presidential spokeswoman Catherine Colonna said the two leaders discussed the outcome of the St. Petersburg summit between France, Germany and Russia, and reached consensus on various issues.

Chirac noted that there were three worrisome problems in Iraq now, namely humanitarian aid and the restoration of major departments, the establishment of national security order, as well as the reconstruction.

The postwar reconstruction of Iraq, particularly the forming of a new government, should be led by the United Nations which has legitimacy and necessary experience, said Chirac.

In a Wednesday telephone conversation with Blair, Chirac also stressed that the United Nations must play a central role in the reconstruction of postwar Iraq, which is set to begin after a necessary phase of establishing a secure environment.

(Xinhua News Agency April 13, 2003)

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