Aussie firm to feed US troops in Iraq

An Australian caterer has won a contract worth $76 million to feed United States-led occupation forces in Iraq, Trade Minister Mark Vaile said in Sydney on Friday.

    The Morris Corporation, working with a Kuwaiti joint venture partner, was one of five international companies subcontracted to feed the troops by the US company Kellogg Brown and Root.


    The Morris contract involved an initial commitment to cater for about 10,000 troops, with the company due to serve its first meals on July 1 to US and other occupying forces stationed around Tikrit, the home town of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.


    Strong lobbying


    The Morris Corporation has already supplied United Nations missions in Cambodia, Somalia and East Timor. The Australian minister said it had good prospects of securing further contracts in Iraq.


    The Australian government has pushed hard in the US, Middle East and Australia to ensure Australian companies have the best possible chance of bidding for Iraq reconstruction contracts, Vaile said.


    "I commend Morris Corporation for its vision and tenacity in driving hard to secure business in Iraq," he said.


    Australia was the only other country to provide a significant number of troops to the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq and it has been fighting hard to get a slice of the multi-billion-dollar task of rebuilding the country.


    Arab companies toy with
    bidding for Iraq contracts

    Meanwhile, ahead of the World Economic Forum (WEF) meet in Jordan on Saturday, a few Arab companies, like Egypt's Orascom Telecom, have expressed interest in taking part in the “reconstruction” of Iraq.


    "Some Arab countries need to take part in the reconstruction because they produce economic benefits, but they have political reservations," said Abdul Meguid, the

    deputy director of Cairo's Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies. 


    The WEF meet will create an atmosphere that will allow Arab companies to eventually enter into deals, whether directly or indirectly, by teaming up with other companies, he added.


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