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Iraq: Germany, Russia, France Criticize U.S. Decision On Contracts

Berlin, 10 December 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Russia, France, and Germany today strongly criticized a U.S. decision to bar their firms from competing for prime contracts to rebuild Iraq. The criticism comes one day after the United States unveiled plans to exclude countries such as Germany, France, and Russia -- which opposed the war -- from competing for 26 reconstruction contracts in Iraq worth up to $18.6 billion.

In Berlin, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said after talks with German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer that it is in the "common interest" that all countries willing to participate in rebuilding Iraq be given an opportunity to do so.

Fischer said he "noted with astonishment" the U.S. decision. He said he will be discussing it with U.S. officials.

In Paris, French Foreign ministry spokesman Herve Ladsous said France is investigating whether the decision is compatible with international competition law.