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Europe

Brussels to Step Up Engagement in Iraq

Brussels is setting out its preliminary plan on Wednesday for normalizing relations with Iraq, as both the international community and Europe try to reconcile differences over the war. Commissioners meeting in Brussels will discuss proposals including a raft of measures from developing trade relations, to supporting elections and administrative reform. This comes as the U.N. Security Council reached an agreement on Iraq's future after months of discord. Under the proposals, the EU may be willing to aide the Iraqi elections pencilled in for next January with technical assistance, observers and monetary help. "We can assist if assistance is requested", said a Commission official. According to sources, the EU could also allow Iraq to benefit from trade breaks, under the EU generalised system of preferences. The system has been suspended since the first Gulf War due to international sanctions on Saddam Hussein's Iraq. (EUobserver.com)

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