CAIRO, July 22 (UPI) -- Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi asked Egypt Thursday to dispatch troops to boost multinational peacekeeping forces to help Iraq restore security.
"We have asked for Egypt's security assistance, namely by dispatching troops to protect the mission of the United Nations in Iraq," Allawi told reporters after a meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
Allawi said he discussed the matters with several Arab and Muslim leaders stressing that "Iraq wants them to contribute to protecting the U.N. mission because its presence in Iraq is necessary and essential."
Egypt expressed in the past its readiness to dispatch a small contingent to Iraq to guard U.N. offices and centers, but Presidential spokesman Majed Abdel Fatah said Wednesday that the Egyptian troops will not be part of the multinational force and their mission will be strictly limited to protecting U.N. premises.
U.N. headquarters in Baghdad was bombed in a suicide attack last August and U.N. special envoy to Iraq Sergio Vieira de Mello was killed, prompting the international organization to evacuate.
Allawi arrived in Egypt Wednesday on the second leg of a Middle East tour.