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UPDATED: 09:00, June 08, 2006
EU wants new chapter in Iraq
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The European Union (EU) said on Wednesday that it would step up its engagement with Iraq, focusing on areas where the 25-nation bloc has a particular value to offer.

"The formation of Iraq's new government gives the EU an opportunity to open a new chapter in its relations with Iraq," said the EU executive European Commission in a press release.

The Commission has presented a communication including a number of recommendations with a special focus on consolidating democracy, improving security conditions and building Iraq's economy.

The communication is to be discussed with the European Council and the European Parliament.

"The strategy we set out today is a firm pledge to support Iraq in the challenges ahead", said European Commissioner for External Relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner.

"Change must be led and owned by the Iraqis themselves. Our support will be closely linked to the new government's commitment to building a stable, democratic country," she added in a statement.

The Commission will soon nominate a head of the EU Delegation for Baghdad and step up its presence there.

Source: Xinhua

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