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EU, Iraq to boost coop., deepen their relations


BRUSSELS, March 20 (KUNA) -- The European Union and Iraq, in the framework of implementation of their Partnership and Cooperation Agreement of 2012, Monday said they will enhance cooperation between them, to consolidate, deepen and diversify their relations in areas of mutual interest.
A Declaration released after the third meeting of EU-Iraq Council in Brussels, the two sides said their cooperation will be based on respect for sovereignty, equality, non-discrimination, rule of law and good governance.
The EU and Iraq recognise the need to support Iraq’s efforts to continue political reforms and economic rehabilitation, it noted.
In this regard, the EU and Iraq recognise the need to enhance regional connectivity through digital, energy and transport networks, to encourage and sustain stabilisation and peace in the Middle East.
The EU lauds Iraq’s commitment to foster renewables and improve the country’s energy efficiency potential towards the green energy sector, it said.
The EU and Iraq attach great importance to the electricity and gas market reforms in Iraq, including the modernisation of the electricity grid, and agree on the need for actions to reduce unnecessary gas flaring as much as possible and to use the saved gas instead for domestic electricity production, said the Declaration.
The EU and Iraq intend to enhance cooperation on improving regional electricity interconnections and the promotion of stronger transport connections in the region. Furthermore, the two sides reaffirm air safety as a key priority area in their bilateral relations.
The EU, in cooperation with European Development Finance Institutions, such as European Investment Bank, are ready to work closer with the Government of Iraq to advance engagement with finance institutions to boost private sector development, including in banking, and improve the investment environment in the country through diversification, it added. (end) nk.mt