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 Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Iraq Snubs Australia to Buy One Million Tons of Wheat from the US.

  By

Khaled Yacoub Oweis

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"The Australian Navy frigate HMAS Parramatta has left Sydney for a six-month deployment in Iraq. Hundreds of families and friends have bid sad farewells to the 187 crew.

The ship and crew will be involved in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Iraq.

They will help protect Iraq's offshore export oil terminals and will monitor, intercept and board vessels suspected of illegal trafficking."

Read here for more and HERE

Iraq will buy ONE MILLION TONS of U.S. wheat in the next few days, Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Chalabi said on Sunday.

The move marks the FIRST time that Australia lost a major deal in Iraq after dominating the market for years.

The Iraqi government, among the world's major buyers of commodities, chose U.S. wheat after Australia failed to make offers under the new Free on Board (FOB) system, Chalabi, a key official behind procurement decisions, told Reuters.

"Australia is out of the running because they insisted on quoting CIF. Some American companies who quoted FOB are getting the contract. They are reputable and we are buying from them," Chalabi said.

The U.N. oil for food program started in 1996 and allowed Iraq to use oil revenue to buy food, medicine and other goods. Australia was a the major wheat supplier to Iraq under the program.

Documents that surfaced after the U.S.-led invasion showed that Australia may have paid bribes to Saddam Hussein's government to secure contracts.

Australian officials have denied paying bribes and pledged to cooperate with international investigations into the program.

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