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European Law Monitor newsEU and Iraq discuss ways of enhancing Energy Cooperation

The European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, and the European Commissioner for Energy, Andris Piebalgs, today met with the Minister of Oil of the Republic of Iraq, Hussain Al-Shahristani, to discuss enhancing energy cooperation between the European Union and the Republic of Iraq.

Commissioner Piebalgs said: "One of the main tools we have to improve our security of supply is diversification. Establishing stable frameworks for energy cooperation with potential new suppliers is therefore a priority for us. Both the EU and Iraq have much to gain from strong energy cooperation. As a first step we are keen to see Iraq play a full role in the Arab Gas Pipeline which will supply the EU including through the Nabucco".

"Iraq is a natural energy partner for the EU, both as a producer of oil and gas and as a transit country for hydrocarbon resources from the Middle East and the Gulf to the EU. Energy is a key element for Iraq's economic development, and the EU energy market, as the largest integrated market in the world, offers interesting opportunities for Iraq. Therefore we have a mutual interest in exploring the possibility of an EU-Iraq Energy Partnership that could be beneficial for both sides" said Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner.

During the meetings, discussions focused on the progress achieved so far in the negotiations of a Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and the Republic of Iraq, of which the energy chapter was closed last November, and the importance of enhancing their relations in the energy sector. Both sides agreed to focus their cooperation on developing a long-term energy strategy for Iraq; strengthening institutional capacity of the Iraqi administration in the energy sector; developing the potential of the Iraqi natural gas sector and export infrastructure to the EU as well as promoting renewable energy sources and energy efficiency measures.

It was also agreed to work together on the development of interconnections of Iraq´s gas infrastructure to the Arab Gas Pipeline.

The Commissioners invited Minister Shahristani to participate in a Ministerial Conference in support of the Arab Gas Pipeline to be held in Brussels in the first half of 2008.

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