Russian companies to provide Iraq with products and services

Nov 20, 2003 01:00 AM

Russian companies will provide Iraq with products and services worth about $ 2 bn over the next six months, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Yury Fedotov has told. The shipments will be conducted under contracts signed as part of the UN Oil-For-Food programs, which will cease to exist on November 21 as a result of a UN Security Council decision.
Oil-For-Food, the largest financial program in UN history launched in 1996, has provided most Iraqi citizens with required food supplies and other products for the past seven years.

The program functioned amid international trade and economic sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1991. The program was suspended in March in connection with the US-British military operation against Iraq.
The UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1483 on May 22, thus lifting economic sanctions against Iraq and extending the program for another six months, until November 21, 2003. Fedotov said that since the program took effect in 1996, more than $ 30 bn of humanitarian goods and technical services have been provided to Iraq. This significantly alleviated conditions for the Iraqi population amid international sanctions, he said.

The deputy foreign minister said that the humanitarian program did a great deal to help Russian companies preserve their positions in Iraq. He said that Russian companies engaged in supplying Russian-made products to Iraq undoubtedly have a firmer foothold there. These products are quite competitive in such areas as energy, equipment for oil wells, water supplies, irrigation, etc, he said.
“Summing up the results, I can say that more than $ 2.3 bn worth of goods and services were delivered to Iraq by Russian forms from December 1996 to March 2003. A similar amount of products is being manufactured at the moment and will be shipped to Iraq within the next six months”, he said.

Fedotov said that priority has also been given to an overwhelming majority of approved and financed contracts worth over $ 1.6 bn. These contacts, which envision projects in energy, oil, gas, water supplies, irrigation, supplies or Russian equipment and automobiles, were signed as part of the Oil-For-Food program. He said that Russia will push for the implementation of previously signed Russian contracts which were not approved and financed as part of the humanitarian program. The deputy foreign minister said that from now on, Russian companies will have to work harder in Iraq amid tough competition.

Fedotov said that major programs aimed at reviving the Iraqi economy are expected to be put into effect using donor assistance. This assistance will be accumulated in special-purpose funds managed by the UN and the World Bank.
“We hope that Russian firms will have a chance to obtain some of these funds. However, it is natural that a great deal will depend on how quickly Russian companies will act. Now they will have to operate under less favourable conditions and amid serious competition”, he said.

Source: Gateway To Russia
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