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15/02/2005 22:31 Local Time 
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Commission: EU-US to extend cooperation despite recent crisis

BRUSSELS (ANA - A. Simatos) - The European Commission on Monday said both Europe and the United States wanted to further their cooperation in spite of recent strained ties, some 48 hours before an EU-US Summit opens in Washington on Wednesday.

"The EU and the US cooperate on an even wider range of areas, broadening and deepening the transatlantic partnership. Even though relations have recently gone through a period of strain, both sides are firmly committed to demonstrating that the EU and the US have a relationship that works and produces concrete results with direct positive effects for our citizens, and also jointly take up global and regional challenges," the Commission said in a statement.

According to the European Commission, international issues such as the Middle East, Iraq, international terrorism, the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, judicial cooperation as well as trade and economic relations between the EU and the US will be discussed during the upcoming summit.

The summit will begin with a private meeting between US President George W. Bush, European Commission President Romano Prodi and Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

Discussions are expected to focus on coordinating actions between the two sides on implementing the road map of the quartet (the EU, UN, US and Russia) for peace in the Middle East.

Discussions between the two delegations will follow and will be completed with a working luncheon. The meeting between the delegations will begin with a presentation by the Greek EU presidency of the results of the Thessaloniki EU summit, primarily concerning the EU's draft constitution and the strategy on common defence and security policy.

Issues such as Iraq, Afghanistan, non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, transport security, judicial cooperation and probably the ''Galileo'' programme and the issue of the International Criminal Court will also be discussed at the meetings.

Talks during the working luncheon will centre on trade and economic issues, such as the forthcoming ministerial conference within the framework of the World Trade Organization in Mexico, trans-Atlantic cooperation in the framework of dialogue on economic markets, research regarding the energy sector and negotiations concerning the air transport sector.

Agreements on mutual judicial assistance and extradition between the EU and the US will also be signed at the US justice department on the same day by US Attorney General John Ashcroft and Greek Justice Minister Filippos Petsalnikos.


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