Monday, Apr 07, 2003
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By Batuk Gathani
During the earlier meeting between the two leaders at Camp David in March, the Europeans wondered if Mr. Blair would convince Mr. Bush to share his belief in international institutions, in the background of the widening trans-Atlantic divide over the war and the reconstruction programme in Iraq. Mr. Blair then pressed Mr. Bush over the role of the United Nations in the reconstruction of Iraq. This is happening in the background of U.S. big business lobby and political right-wingers undermining the U.N.'s role in Iraq. According to current indications, British energy, construction and engineering companies may miss out on post-war contracts in Iraq.
These contracts are estimated to be worth $180 billions over the next 10 years. It is not clear who will foot the bill but Iraqi oil revenues will be used to pay the mainly American and other Western companies.
There are signs that the Bush administration is making "feeble but plausible'' attempts to mend fences with the E.U. It remains to be seen, however, how the U.S. will convince Germany, France and Russia about fully participating in the Iraq reconstruction programme.
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