February 12, 2004

Companies winning few friends in Iraq-Merlin:

"Businesses involved in Iraq's reconstruction have yet to convince local people they are not working hand in glove with occupying forces or show relief agencies and government they are willing to cooperate on the ground, one of Britain's most reputable health NGOs said.

London-based Merlin said most U.S. companies had no legitimacy in the eyes of the local population, who view them as war profiteers following Washington's decision to award billions of dollars in contracts to American firms.

'Our experience in Iraq shows that both general and specific conditions for public-private partnerships are as yet unmet, and raises questions as to whether Iraq is a good setting to experiment with them on such a large scale,' said Lara Pellini, Merlin's public affairs officer. "


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