UPDATE – EU extends advisory mission in Iraq until April 2020

UPDATE WITH MORE ANNOUNCEMENTS; ADDS DETAILS

By Serife Cetin and Ata Ufuk Seker

BRUSSELS (AA) – The European Union on Monday extended the mandate of its advisory mission in Iraq until April 17, 2020, the bloc announced on Monday.

The EU also agreed on a budget of €64.8 million ($75 million) for the period between Oct. 18, 2018 and April 17, 2020, it said in a statement following Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Luxembourg.

“The mission contributes to the implementation at strategic level of a comprehensive strategy countering terrorism and organized crime with specific reference to border management, financial crime, money laundering and the trafficking of cultural heritage,” the statement added.

“The mission works in coordination with key international actors operating in Iraq, including the NATO mission in Iraq,” it noted.

Launched in 2017, the mission “supports the implementation of the civilian aspects of the Iraqi National Security Programme.”

Based in Baghdad, the mission is headed by Markus Ritter of Germany with 52 staffers.

– New regime on chemical weapons

The EU has also adopted a new regime to “address the use and proliferation of chemical weapons,” the European Council announced.

The bloc “will now be able to impose sanctions on persons and entities involved in the development and use of chemical weapons anywhere, regardless of their nationality and location,” the council said in a statement.

According to the statement, the measures targets “persons and entities who are directly responsible for the development and use of chemical weapons as well as those who provide financial, technical or material support, and those who assist, encourage or are associated with them.”

“Sanctions consist of a travel ban to the EU and an asset freeze for persons, and an asset freeze for entities,” it added.

– EU, Singapore to sign trade, investment deals

The EU also announced that the bloc and Singapore have decided to sign two agreements on free trade and investment protection.

“The EU and Singapore are expected to sign both agreements, as well as a partnership and cooperation agreement, on 19 October, in the margins of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit, in Brussels,” it said.

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