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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

EU confirms Iran invited to Iraq conference

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Brussels, June 11, IRNA
EU-Iraq-Iran
The European Union has confirmed that both Iran and Syria have been invited to an international conference on Iraq to be held in Brussels on June 22.

"The EU and the US are the main co-hosts (of the conference), and of course Iran and Syria are invited," European Commissioner for External Relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner told a news conference in Brussels Friday afternoon.

She was briefing the press on Thursday's surprise visit to Baghdad by an EU delegation to prepare for the conference on Iraq to which 80 countries have been invited.

The commissioner said that the first ever EU troika visit to Baghdad was a deeply significant event.

"For me, this is the beginning of a new political relationship and I do hope that it will grow into a real partnership," said Ferrero-Waldenr.

The top-level EU delegation included Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselbron, whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, whose country takes over the EU presidency from July 1, EU High Representative Javier Solana and Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner.

The EU delegation held talks with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari.

"There is a strong wish of the Iraqis to see the EU fully engaged and present in Baghdad.

"After having seen what the conditions on the ground are, this is my view that gradually we can go back and open up a European Commission delegation in Baghdad as soon as possible, in the next month as soon as we have soughed out the question of security," she said.

Commenting on the Iraqi constitutional process, she said it is quite well on the way.

"All our Iraqi interlocutors said that they would like to stick to the date of August 15. I hope that it will be feasible so that the population can see that the country moves toward a democratically elected government," added the commissioner.

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