Wednesday, June 22, 2005

EU And US Work Together To Help Iraq

From Reuters:

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The United States and the European Union rallied world help for Iraq on Wednesday and urged Baghdad to ensure minority Sunnis help shape its future.

Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari asked for assistance to fight the Sunni-led insurgency and rebuild the country.

More than 1,000 Iraqis and 120 U.S. troops have been killed since Jaafari's cabinet took office in April, with fresh rebel attacks this week despite a U.S.-Iraqi security crackdown.

"We want to achieve economic and political independence and raise the competence of our security forces without turning into a security state," the Shi'ite Muslim politician told delegates from about 80 nations meeting in Brussels.

"The new Iraqi government must continue to improve security, liberalize its economy and open political space for all members of Iraqi society who reject violence," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told the conference.

The joint EU-U.S. event is a product of President Bush's trip to Europe in February to mend ties after transatlantic rifts in 2003 over the U.S.-led war on Iraq.

Heavy on displays of support for Iraq and unity of purpose between Washington and Brussels, the meeting is exploring practical ways the world can help Iraq, but will leave decisions on aid flows to a donors' meeting in Amman, Jordan, next month.