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Iraq Aid Conference Opens


22 June 2005 (RFE/RL) --More than 80 foreign ministers and officials are due in Brussels today at a conference aimed at showing solidarity with violence-wracked Iraq and to hear Baghdad's plans for rebuilding it

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar al-Zebari -- part of a 30-strong delegation headed by Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari -- hopes the talks will support his government as it drafts a new constitution and prepares for elections later this year.

Speaking to the AFP news agency on the eve of the conference, Zebari said the main goal today is "to reengage the international community in stabilizing and building Iraq."

According to Reuters, the United States and the EU will use the conference to call for the full participation of the Sunni Arab minority in shaping the country's future.

Among those scheduled to attend are U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, as well as foreign ministers from Iraq's neighbors, notably Iran and Syria, NATO and the Arab League.

(Reuters/AFP)
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