UN unanimously approves expansion of role in Iraq

The Security Council unanimously approved a resolution Friday expanding the United Nations' role in Iraq in a move aimed at reconciling the country's rival groups, winning support from neighboring countries and tackling Iraq's humanitarian crisis. The resolution authorizes the UN, at the request of the Iraqi government, to help promote political talks among the country's ethnic and religious groups and a regional dialogue on issues including border security, energy and refugees. The United States and Britain, who have the largest military forces in Iraq and co-sponsored the resolution, believe the UN should be a more important player in trying to bring peace to Iraq because it is viewed by many as a more neutral party that can act as a facilitator of talks among feuding parties.