US says can rebuild Iraq without help
WASHINGTON ó The United States will pay most of the cost to rebuild Iraq if it sticks to its plans to set up a joint military-civilian occupation run
solely by US and Iraqi collaborators.
The tab will be billion of dollars higher if the UN Security Council forces Washington to act alone by refusing to endorse the US-installed
administration or allow UN agencies to contribute to reconstruction.
Important members of the Security Council, including France and Germany, have said they would oppose any post-facto approval of the US and British
invasion and believe that the United Nations should be at the centre of reconstruction.
But apart from Britain and possibly Japan, none of Washingtonís other allies in the invasion are likely to make a serious contribution to rebuilding
Iraq, a task which could cost 20 billion dollars in the first year alone.
However, worried it could be shut out of business deals in postwar Iraq, France is drawing up plans to win French companies access to lucrative oil
and reconstruction contracts, officials said yesterday.
The government is determined that French companies be part of the rebuilding of Iraq despite President Jacques Chiracís strident opposition to war, a
Finance Ministry official said.
Gilles Munier, an executive board member of the French-Iraq Association for Economic Cooperation, or AFICE, said business leaders and government
representatives had set up a working group to study how to gain a foothold in postwar Iraq.
He said a meeting between Franceís most powerful business federation, government leaders and the AFICE, which promotes French businesses in Iraq, was
scheduled for April 3.
(Herald staff with news agencies)