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STATEMENT by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus on situation in Iraq

The Republic of Belarus is deeply concerned by escalation of tension and aggravation of humanitarian situation in Iraq. It is unacceptable when civilians fall victims of military operations, children die, food stocks and medical supplies needed by civil population are destroyed.

Belarus strongly advocates an immediate cessation of military activities and release of hostages. The occupying powers bear special responsibility for observing humanitarian law.

Prompt restoration of state sovereignty of Iraq and transfer of all plenitude of power to the legitimately elected and internationally recognized Iraqi government will contribute to the settlement of the situation.

In this regard it is becoming ever more evident that the United Nations should be given central role in the post-war Iraqi settlement.

Minsk, April 12, 2004