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Europe Eyes Landmark Ties With Iraq

BRUSSELS (UPI) — The Foreign Affairs Committee in the European Parliament said it backed an agreement with Iraq that calls for deeper economic and political ties.

The European Commission had said it committed $85.7 million to development cooperation in Iraq for a two-year period. The commission said it was working on a multi-annual programming strategy for Iraq that would be based on a possible country strategy paper for the period ending in 2013.

Members of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the European Parliament said they supported a deal that established the first contractual relationship with Iraq.

“The partnership and cooperation agreement establishes a framework for deeper political and economic cooperation, counter-terrorism and the promotion of human rights,” a parliamentary statement read.

The measure includes measure that will help Iraq ascend to the World Trade Organization and the International Criminal Court.

European lawmakers, however, passed a complementary non-binding resolution that highlights concerns about religious and minority rights in Iraq. Violence targeting civilians can “instill in the population a deep sense of fear and uncertainty,” the resolution read.

Iraq has provincial council elections in April. The country’s stability was questioned recently following clashes between Kurdish and Iraqi forces.

The European measure is expected to go before the full European Parliament next month.

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