New York - Iraqi President Jalal Talabani on Thursday said reductions in violence will allow Iraq's security forces to take the lead from foreign forces in all provinces by the end of the year and invited diplomatic missions back into the country.
Talabani said ongoing efforts at national reconciliation and the coming of age of Iraq's police and military had both helped improve the security situation over the past year.
"These steps do not fully satisfy our ambitions, for the road to achieving our desired goal of a secure, stable and prosperous Iraq is long," he said, in an address before the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
The United Nations should "raise its presence" in Iraq, Talabani said, but suggested it was time for the Security Council to end the UN's mandate for international forces in the country.
The United States and Iraq are working on a separate military agreement that would replace the UN mandate - which expires this year - and allow US troops to remain in Iraq. The US-Iraqi deal has been hampered by disagreements over a possible pullout date for US forces.
Talabani urged the international community and regional powers to help Iraq confront terrorism, to provide more development aid and to open or re-open their diplomatic embassies in Baghdad.
"Iraq no longer threatens international peace and security," Talabani said.
Iraqi forces last month took control of military operations in Anbar province, a predominantly Sunni region that had been one of the country's most violent. A surge of US troops last year, together with a number of Sunni tribes changing sides, has also helped to sharply reduce violence in the country. (dpa)