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IRAQ - Reconstruction Conference.

A US-EU conference on co-ordinating Iraq's reconstruction will take place in Brussels in the second half of June, according to Richard Jones, a senior adviser to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The conference was planned during President George W. Bush's visit to Brussels in February as part of a US-EU rapprochement over Iraq. It will focus on three issues: bolstering democracy, strengthening rule of law and integrating Iraq into the world economy.

Jones said in an interview published on April 22 by the International Herald Tribute (IHT): "This is contingent on the Iraqi government being interested in having a conference, but my informal consultation with the likely members of the [yet-to-be-formed Iraqi] government suggests they are interested". Jones was then in Brussels for his first formal contact with EU officials to co-ordinate the conference.

The two-day conference would have 60-70 participants, including those from the US and EU, he said. He said Washington was planning for Ms Rice to attend the conference. The meeting would not seek to raise new aid money but look to co-ordinate existing aid. Speaking about the countries which would attend, Jones said the US and EU would "target countries and institutions that we would want to see included". But they would "not exclude any country that is interested" in attending, he added. Jones said: "We believe that the successful [Jan. 30 Iraqi] election...created a considerable amount of political momentum. We are looking to sustain and build on that momentum to complete the transition".
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Publication:APS Review Downstream Trends
Date:Apr 25, 2005
Words:250
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