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Europe

EU Lifts Iraq Weapons Embargo

The US and the European Union have lifted bans on exporting weapons to Iraq, freeing the way for the Iraqi government to buy equipment for the country's new army. But European companies are unlikely to benefit.

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They can now be equipped with arms

According to the Financial Times Deutschland, US firms are expected to get most of the contracts as Washington pays for most of Iraq's reconstruction.

The lifting of the embargo became possible after the UN Security Council recognized the new Iraqi government in a resolution on June 8.

The move ended severe economic sanctions against Baghdad, which were imposed 14 years ago. Under the trade embargo, the Iraqis were only allowed to export oil to buy food, medicines and other civilian goods through a special UN agency.

US President George W. Bush has issued an order stating that Iraq should be treated like other friendly states, allowing the government in Baghdad to order weapons and other military equipment.

At the beginning of this week, EU leaders also lifted the weapons embargo against Iraq, according to the Financial Times Deutschland. German government officials meanwhile told the paper that permission still needs to be granted to export weapons. Shipping arms to crisis regions will remain prohibited, but government officials did not want to say whether Iraq would fall in that category.

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