The Happy Leftie

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Thursday, March 09, 2006

Buh-bye, Dubai!: Dubai Gives Up On Ports Deal

Issue Had Divided Republicans, White House

(CBS) WASHINGTON A Senate Republican said Thursday that a Dubai-owned company has decided to transfer its management stake in some U.S. ports to a U.S. based company.

Sen. John Warner, R-Va., read a news release from Dubai Ports World saying the ruler of Dubai had asked them, in the interests of U.S.-Dubai relations to take this action and they will do so as soon as the financial arrangements can be worked out.

"Because of the strong relationship between the United Arab Emirates and the United States and to preserve that relationship, DP World has decided to transfer fully the U.S. operation of P&O Operations North America to a United States entity," DP World's chief operating officer, Edward H. Bilkey, said in the statement that Warner relayed to other senators.

The news comes shortly after Republican congressional leaders told President Bush that both the House and Senate appeared ready to block the controversial deal that would have given DP World operational control of several U.S. ports.

It was not immediately clear whether the announcement would be enough to cool widespread sentiment in Congress to pass legislation blocking the deal, which has become an election-year nightmare for Republicans.

President Bush had vowed to veto any legislation to interfere with the deal.

A day earlier, a Republican-controlled House committee voted 62-2 to block the transfer, which has prompted an unusual, election-year Republican revolt against the administration.

Senate Democrats were demanding a vote on the issue, placing Republicans on the political defensive as they tried to prevent the roll call from occurring.