Armenia Clarifies Exclusion from Iraq Reconstruction List

In an interview with Mediamax News Agency–Armenia’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hamlet Kasparian explains that the exclusion of Armenia from the list of countries able to compete for Iraqi reconstruction projects–does not necessarily close doors for the country.

QUESTION: Armenia’s media has offered varying interpretations about Armenia’s exclusion from the list of countries able to compete for Iraqi reconstruction projects. It has even been suggested that Armenia’s "reserved" stance on the war has cost it millions of dollars [in reconstruction contracts]. What is your explanation?

ANSWER: The US government has decided that only those countries that offered unreserved cooperation and assistance the US efforts in Iraq–and joined the coalition–should be allowed to participate in the tenders to take on projects being paid for by US funds.

Armenia’shared the US position on the Saddam Hussein regime–but adopted a more reserved stance on this matter–concerned about endangering the security of the Armenian communities in Iraq and the Middle East. The US understood this concern. At the same time–Armenia has always come forward in favor of establishing peace and stability in Iraq–and expressed a readiness to participate in so far as it is able. Armenia has already announced that it is prepared to send military medical personnel–de-miners–and other support staff to Iraq. The Armenian side is currently negotiating the technical aspects of this plan.

On the other hand–not participating at this stage of the bidding process does not close the doors before us. The current bidding refers to initial contracts–and the likelihood of winning them is low even for those countries that are on the list. On the contrary–Armenian companies can–in the future–have the opportunity to participate in profitable contracts as subcontractors. This is currently under discussion with the US and we are hopeful that the results will be positive. Further–the Iraqi reconstruction process is broad and the US welcomes international participation.

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