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Europe

EU Could Back WTO Membership for All Middle East

Iraq, Iran and Libya could receive EU backing to join the World Trade Organization, according to an internal policy document from Brussels.

The European Union could move to call for World Trade Organization membership for all countries in the Middle East. An internal policy document obtained by the Euobserver.com lists eleven policy objectives which may be included in an overall EU strategy for the region.

One of the possible objectives states: "The EU will promote WTO membership for countries in the region."

The goal is part of an overarching policy on the Middle East formulated by the Irish Presidency, which currently holds the rotating head of the bloc. The move would see countries such as Algeria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iraq, Libya, Iran and Syria become full-fledged members of the international trading body.

In addition to the membership, the EU also aims at improving business ties, modernizing the trade infrastructure and regulatory environment in the region as well as liberalizing the import and export markets.

The move would help to bring more isolated countries like Iran and Libya further into the international community. In return, the EU would seek help creating a region of peace and stability including democratic and human rights reforms.

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