Up to 1.7 million Iraqis may have died as a result of the penalties, which savaged the economy and crippled the country's health care system, according to a previous UN report.

Nuri al-Maliki, Iraq's prime minister, said: "We discussed the ending of UN sanctions on Iraq, which were [imposed] after the aggression of the previous regime. We asked for a review of all the resolutions imposed on Iraq so we can return to the rank of normal nations."

Yassin Majid, a spokesman for tfhe Iraqi PM, said Ban and al-Maliki also discussed strengthening ties between the UN and Iraq.

"This visit is to give more support to Iraq and to show the strong relationship between the UN and Iraq,'' Majid said.