Russia urges US to set timetable for leaving Iraq

Russia's Foreign Ministry on Monday called on Washington to set a time limit for its military presence in Iraq, saying it would help stabilize the country. The ministry said in a statement that in the current situation in Iraq it was "particularly important to avoid steps further splitting society. Determining the time frame for the presence of multinational forces in Iraq could help," it said, adding that Moscow conveyed that view last week during debates on the Iraqi security situation at the UN Security Council. The ministry added that "Russia proceeds from the assumption that there is no quick solution for Iraq's problems," adding that "there should be no artificial time limits." Russia has opposed the US military action in Iraq and has not contributed any troops to the US-led coalition force. It said it was willing to help peace efforts, but urged the United States to revise its policy in Iraq by giving more say to opposition groups and by inviting nations such as Iran and Syria to take part.