Iraq aims to join World Trade Organization

Iraqi membership in the World Trade Organization would send a powerful message that the country has emerged from decades of international exclusion under Saddam Hussein and is on the path to economic development, its trade minister said Friday. Abed Falah al-Sudani told ambassadors meeting in Geneva for first discussions on Iraq's bid to enter the 150-member commerce body that "joining the WTO is an important step towards integration into the global trading system and restores its position with the international community after decades of isolation from the world," according to a copy of the statement obtained by The Associated Press.