The meeting would also provide for the dispatch of international peacekeepers to the war-torn country.

"We suggest holding a conference on Iraq under the auspices of the United Nations," Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said on Wednesday in an interview with a US news channel, the text of which was released by the Russian foreign ministry.

The meeting, said Ivanov, "could draft a joint settlement plan which would then be submitted to the UN Security Council."

"We believe it is essential for a certain period to have international security forces in Iraq, whose mandate should be clearly established by the UN Security Council," he said.

"We are all interested in Iraq not turning into a hotbed of international terrorism," Ivanov said. "But for this, our steps have to be effective, we have to conduct a dialogue."

Russia, which along with France and Germany bitterly opposed the US-led war on Iraq, has been arguing for a strong UN role in the reconstruction of the country.