Russian contracts with Iraq to be frozen

Contracts signed by Russian companies with Saddam Hussein's regime are to be frozen, according to a senior US diplomat. The diplomat was speaking yesterday at a press conference in St. Petersburg. He said that this means they will neither be implemented nor cancelled.

The diplomat referred to President Bush's statement that the US does not intend to force Russian companies out of Iraq or harm their interests. 'A large number of Russian contracts under the Oil for Food programme will be implemented,' he said. The diplomat also said that Russia would be able to take part in tenders for commercial contracts to rebuild Iraq. He stressed that many questions will not be answered until a new Iraqi government has been formed, as the new government will be responsible for decision making, including with regard to the oil sector.

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