( dpa ) - Germany should become more involved in Iraq in the light of improvements in security in the country, the United Nations special envoy to Iraq, Staffan de Mistura, said in an interview released Wednesday."There is great interest in stronger engagement from European Union countries," the Swedish diplomat told the Berlin daily Tagesspiegel.
"If Germany wants to do more, now is the right time," he said, pointing to Germany's role as go-between throughout the Middle East.
In response, German Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Jaeger said Germany had invested considerable resources in assisting Iraq with programmes conducted outside Iraq itself.
He welcomed signs of an improvement in the security situation but said it remained "far from normal."
German government advice against travel to Iraq and restrictions on government members visiting the country remained in force, Jaeger said.
A Defence Ministry spokesman said Germany had invested some 7.5 million euros (11 million dollars) in heavy equipment and training programmes conducted mainly in the United Arab Emirates since 2004.
In his interview, to be published in full Thursday, de Mistura thanked Germany for its "discreet and effective engagement in the background," referring to the training of more than 2,000 Iraqi police officers.
De Mistura was appointed in September. His predecessor, Sergio Vieira de Mello, died in a terrorist bomb blast directed at the UN headquarters in Baghdad in August 2003.