THE Archbishop of York has urged the international community to work together to bring about a civil and democratic society in Iraq after the suffering of war.

But he has warned that the precedent set by Afghanistan after its liberation from the Taliban does not bode well for future prospects in Iraq.

Giving his Easter Day sermon at York Minster, Dr David Hope said: "Quite frankly, despite all the promises, given how things currently are in Kabul and Afghanistan post-war, it does not bode well as to how things might be in Baghdad and Iraq."

Dr Hope said humanitarian aid was the top priority in Iraq, followed by the "regularising of an interim administration" and the restoration of a viable infrastructure.

"At least as much determination, commitment and resolution will be needed on the part of the coalition which pursued the war now to pursue the reconstruction," he said.

The Archbishop, who was a keen advocate of a second United Nations resolution during the build-up to the war, said it was important for the UN's status to be restored.

"There is rebuilding and restoration work to be done, more especially with regard to the United Nations and its role in international affairs," he said.

"Relationships have undeniably been impaired. There will be the need for a patient re-establishing of trust and in reflecting carefully on the processes of the past, it ought to be possible to ensure the enhancement of the United Nations Organisation as a more effective instrument in the resolution of international differences and disagreements."

He said religious leaders and their followers in Iraq needed to be active in the peacemaking process, rather than one extremist pitting against another.

Dr Hope also spoke of his confidence that relationships between people of different faiths in Britain could be strengthened.

"There are understandings and values, causes and concerns, which we share with those of other faiths and from whose faith tradition we can also gain right insights, not only into understanding them and their culture but also of ourselves and the Christian faith and life itself."

Updated: 09:56 Monday, April 21, 2003