The European Commissioner for External Relations and the Commissioner for Energy have met with the Minister of Oil of the Republic of Iraq to discuss the improvement of energy cooperation between the European Union and Iraq. The European Commission considers Iraq to be a natural energy partner for the European Union, both as a producer of oil and gas and as a transit country for hydrocarbon resources from the Middle East and the Gulf to the European Union. The discussions focused on the progress achieved so far in the negotiations of a Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Iraq (the energy chapter was closed last November) and the importance of enhancing relations in the energy sector. Both sides agreed to focus on: (i) developing a long-term energy strategy for Iraq; (ii) strengthening institutional capacity of the Iraqi Administration in the energy sector; (iii) developing the potential of the Iraqi natural gas sector and export infrastructure to the European Union; and (iv) promoting renewable energy sources and energy efficiency measures. They also agreed to work together on the development of interconnections of Iraq’s gas infrastructure with the Arab Gas Pipeline. As a step towards achieving this goal, Iraq’s Minister of Oil was invited to participate in a Ministerial Conference in support of the Arab Gas Pipeline to be held in Brussels in 2008.