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Iraqi, EU Officials Discuss Energy Security

Iraqi and European Union officials have discussed plans for Iraq to supply the EU with natural gas.

Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain Al-Shahristani met EU External Relations commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner and Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs in Brussels Thursday.

The officials say they discussed plans to transport natural gas from a gas field in southern Iraq to the EU through the Arab Gas Pipeline.

When completed, the pipeline will connect Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Turkey. Iraqi gas could then reach the heart of Europe through the planned Nabucco pipeline, which is to run from Turkey to Austria.

The EU buys most of its natural gas from Russia and wants to diversify its suppliers.

Iraq's oil minister said Iraq is committed to meeting the EU's energy needs.

In turn, the EU is providing Iraq millions of dollars in aid and technical support to rebuild its infrastructure, broken from years of war.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.