Leaders at the European Union summit have without exception pledged more money to ensure that free elections take place in the war-torn country, planned near the end of January.
Iraqi interim prime minister Iyad Allawi, a special guest in Brussels, had not been certain of pleasing all his hosts: “I am very delighted with the EU, honoured. Support we got for Iraq was unanimous.” French President Jacques Chirac was not there. He went to a state funeral in Abu Dhabi instead. France made clear it did not like Allawi calling it a spectator in the war that rid the country of Saddam Hussein. But President Jacques Chirac said: “I never refused to meet Prime Minister Allawi. I met him in the U.S. for the G-8. Mister Allawi has his personality… What he says can be attractive to a greater or lesser degree. I have no problem with the Iraqi authorities.” Thirty million euros was pledged for the election. Officials said the aid package is for training police and election workers, and supporting a force to protect UN workers in Iraq. This is on top of the 305 million euros in humanitarian and reconstruction aid the EU already has committed for the Iraqis this year.