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EU FMs to discuss ties with Iran

The situation in the Middle East, developments in Iraq and relations with Iran are among the topics on the agenda of the regular meeting of EU Foreign Ministers in Brussels next Monday and Tuesday, IRNA reported from Brussels.

The EU Foreign Ministers' Council will discuss the situation in Iran and the EU-Iran relations, Italy's permanent representative to the EU, Ambassador Umberto Vattani, told a press briefing in Brussels Friday.

Italy currently holds the six-month rotating EU Presidency. The ministers in particular will exchange views on the declaration by Iran on its decision to sign and ratify the IAEA Additional Protocol, as well as voluntarily suspend uranium enrichment and processing activities.

However, no written conclusions on Iran are expected to be issued by the Council.

On Iraq, the ministers are expected to adopt conclusions expressing solidarity with Italy after the attack on the Italian barracks in Nassiriya.

They will examine the continuation of the process of handing over executive powers to the Iraqi Governing Council, the political as well as economic reconstruction of Iraq and the follow-up to the Madrid donors conference.

The Council will discuss the situation in the Middle East in light of recent events, including the formation of the new Palestinian government of Prime Minister Ahmed Qurie.

The EU-Israel political dialogue will be held on Monday and the fourth meeting of the EU-Israel Association Council will take place on Tuesday.

The EU side will raise the issues of the apartheid wall being constructed by the Zionist state and the boycott of the EU special envoy to the Middle East, Marc Otte, by Zionist officials.

The ministers will assess the political and security situation in Afghanistan ahead of a donors conference in February.

The highlight of Monday will be a meeting between US secretary of state Colin Powell with EU foreign ministers in Brussels. The two sides will discuss the problems in the Middle East, Iran, Iraq and transatlantic relations. It is the first time that Powell will be attending an EU foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels.

EU-Russia relations, EU-Africa dialogue, weapons of mass destruction, European Security and Defense Policy, Western Balkans are some of the other topics to be discussed by the Council during the 2-day meeting.

Moreover, the ministers will prepare for the EU summit to take place in Brussels on 12-13 December.

... Payvand News - 11/14/03 ... --

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