Germany slams baron Iraq contracts

10th December 2003, Comments 0 comments

10 December 2003 , BERLIN - Germany reacted with anger Wednesday to an announcement in Washington that German firms will be barred from competing for major reconstruction projects in Iraq. "This is unacceptable," declared Schroeder's chief spokesman Bela Anda, adding that the move did not correspond with an agreement between Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and President George W. Bush to "look to the future - not the past." Anda said the German government had not been formally notified by the US over the move

10 December 2003

BERLIN - Germany reacted with anger Wednesday to an announcement in Washington that German firms will be barred from competing for major reconstruction projects in Iraq.

"This is unacceptable," declared Schroeder's chief spokesman Bela Anda, adding that the move did not correspond with an agreement between Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and President George W. Bush to "look to the future - not the past."

Anda said the German government had not been formally notified by the US over the move and was basing its initial reaction on media reports.

German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer expressed strong surprise over the step and pledged to contact American officials.

"I learned of this report with astonishment," said Fischer at a news briefing in Berlin with his Russian counterpart Igor Ivanov.

Ivanov said Moscow was still orienting its policy on the basis of U.S. pledges that American troops would only be in Iraq for a limited period and that the Iraqi people would make their own decisions over resources.

"All those who want to take part should be given the chance to do so," said Ivanov.

The US on Tuesday issued a list of 63 countries which could compete for contracts in Iraq.

Germany and France were kept off the list which bars them from seeking any of the USD18.6 billion worth of contracts for Iraqi reconstruction work. Also barred were Russia and China.

All four countries opposed the US-led war on Iraq earlier this year.

Ties between Germany and the United States became especially frigid over Schroeder's use of his anti-war stance as a key part of his re-election campaign last year.

Following several Bush-Schroeder meetings since last summer, it had appeared that ties between Germany and the US were on the mend after the Iraq crisis.

Deputy US Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, one of the main architects of the war in Iraq, issued the directive Friday, media reports said Tuesday.

The directive said the United States was acting to protect "the essential security interests of the United States" and did not mention any other reason for excluding the three countries.

But the move was seen as a retaliation for the role the three countries played in blocking a United Nations Security Council resolution earlier this year to lend stronger international support to Washington's unseating of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

The administration in the past made clear that countries that did not support the US-led coalition would also not play a role in Iraq's reconstruction.

But Friday's directive was the first that overtly omitted those countries from bidding on contracts.

The directive said only companies from the United States, Iraq and 61 "coalition partners" could bid on contracts, The New York Times reported.



DPA
Subject: German news

 

 

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