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U.S., EU Propose Conference On Iraq

23 February 2005 -- The United States and European Union have proposed co-hosting a conference to encourage and coordinate international support for the rebuilding of Iraq.

The announcement was made at the Brussels summit yesterday between the EU and U.S. President George W. Bush.

Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker of Luxembourg, the current EU president, said the conference would be held if the new Iraqi government requests it.

U.S. and EU moves toward reconciliation over the Iraq war were also evident in the agreement yesterday of all 26 NATO member states to each make some commitment to the training of Iraqi security forces.

Ibrahim al-Ja'fari, the leading candidate to become Iraq's new prime minister, says he will make restoring security in the country his top priority if he takes office.

Al-Ja'fari, head of the Islamic Al-Dawah party, was chosen for prime minister yesterday by the Shi'ite-clergy backed United Iraqi Alliance, which won more than half of the seats in the National Assembly in Iraq's 30 January elections.

He still must build support for his new cabinet to be approved by the assembly.