The Security Council unanimously approved a resolution Friday expanding the United Nations' role in Iraq in a move aimed at reconciling the country's rival groups, winning support from neighboring countries and tackling Iraq's humanitarian crisis.

The resolution authorizes the U.N., at the request of the Iraqi government, to promote political talks among the country's ethnic and religious groups and a regional dialogue on issues including border security, energy and refugees.

The United States and Britain, who have the largest military forces in Iraq and cosponsored the resolution, believe the U.N. should play a greater part there because the world body is viewed by many as a more neutral party that can facilitate talks among feuding parties.

Before the vote, U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said the resolution would internationalize the effort to assist Iraqis in overcoming their internal differences and bringing neighboring countries together to help the country.

"This is not a substitute for what the United States is doing," he said.