Putin said on Thursday after summit talks with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder that Russia would continue pressing for the quick transfer of power from the US-appointed Governing Council to a freely elected Iraqi government. 

“We would like to see the resolution voted on before the Madrid conference,” Putin told reporters in Yekaterinburg, Russia. “This would serve as a good basis for the Madrid talks.” 

“Iraq needs huge investments, but these investments can only be used effectively after political rules are established,” he added.

UN role

Putin said that both he and Schroeder agreed the UN should take the leading role in the oversight of Iraq's future.

“Russia and Germany stand in favour of a democratic and just world order, and strengthening of the United Nations and international rights,” he said.

"Iraq needs huge investments, but these investments can only be used effectively after political rules are established"

Vladimir Putin

Russia, Germany and France were the leading advocates of delaying the Iraq war and allowing UN weapons inspectors more time to verify reports that the country was developing weapons of mass destruction.

All three countries have since pressured the US to put forward a clear timeline in the form of a new UN resolution clearly stating when Iraq could gain complete sovereignty.

Passive participant

Putin said Russia would “most likely take part in this conference as an observer,” referring to the Madrid meeting.

The US needs to secure aid pledges from the international community to pay for the reconstruction effort, though many have been reluctant to pay for a war they opposed.

A German source told AFP on Wednesday that Berlin was in favour of delaying the Madrid conference.
  
The World Bank and the UN estimate that rebuilding Iraq will cost about $36 billion over the coming three years.

Spanish Foreign Minister, Ana Palacio, said on Tuesday she hoped the conference would produce cash pledges of around $2 billion over the next 12 months.