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Afghanistan was invited to attend meetings of the General Council,
and as appropriate, meetings of other WTO bodies as an observer.
Ambassador Assad Omer, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan, in thanking
members, said that after two decades of conflict, his government has
significantly improved the economic climate.
“The peaceful completion of our first direct presidential elections ... has
heralded a new era of political stability”, he said.
Ambassador Omer said that his country hoped to re-establish itself as the
land bridge for trans-continental trade.
“We believe that participation in the international trading system will lead
to more trade, investment, technology transfer, employment and income growth
throughout the economy”, he said.
Iraq was invited to continue attending meetings of the General Council and,
as appropriate, meetings of other WTO bodies as an observer.
Trade Minister Mohammed Mustafa Al-Jibouri said his country viewed the
decision as “yet another contribution on the part of the WTO to Iraq's
efforts to reform its economy”.
He said that since the General Council's decision last February to grant
observer status to Iraq, his government has started accession preparations
in earnest, including the drafting of its Foreign Trade Regime Memorandum
and the creation of a National Committee for WTO Accession.
“The new Iraq looks with great optimism at achieving political stability,
economic prosperity and social development ... we believe that our
reintegration into the world trading system is an essential element to
fulfil those aims,” he said.
Regarding another membership request, that from Iran, the Chairman,
Ambassador Shotaro Oshima of Japan, reported on his recent consultations. He
said that although it was clear that a large part of the membership
continued to be supportive of an early and positive action on this request,
there was still no consensus at that stage to accept the request and to set
up a working party for this purpose.