UN official in Iraq for talks on int'l partnership

The No. 2 United Nations official met with top Iraqi leaders in Baghdad on Thursday to promote a new partnership meant to help muster political and economic support for Iraq's new government, the UN said. Mark Malloch Brown, the deputy UN secretary-general, discussed setting up a preparatory group that will have the backing of the World Bank and include representatives of international donors, the UN said in a news release from its headquarters in New York. The International Compact for Iraq was set up last month at the behest of Iraq's new prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki. Its main task at the start will be charting a five-year course to "consolidate peace and pursue political, economic and social development," the statement said.