Friday, February 24, 2006

UAE and DP World agree to delay port take over

... as part of an effort to assuage the fears of US citizens and lawmakers.

WASHINGTON (AFP) - A United Arab Emirates company has agreed to postpone its plans to take over management of six US ports after the proposed deal ignited harsh criticism from both Democrats and Republicans on national security grounds.

In a written statement released late Thursday, the state-owned Dubai Ports World said it will not assume control of the terminals until US lawmakers have time to study the deal.

"The reaction in the United States has occurred in no other country in the world," DP World chief operating officer Ted Bilkey said in the statement. "We need to understand the concerns of the people in the US who are worried about this transaction and make sure that they are address to the benefit of all parties. Security is everybody's business."

It's really a very generous offer on their part, showing a ton of goodwill and I think will end up being good for their business and for future relations between our countries. I hope the president takes some time to more fully explain his thought process behind this deal and that Congress takes the time to thoroughly dissect the deal and confirm the reasons the president is so confident in the security of the deal. Oh, and that they not use this time to pointlessly grandstand and posture themselves for future votes. I know that's a lot to ask Senators Clinton and Levin, but the president didn't break any laws here, so please shut up.

UPDATE: Robert Kaplan was on Hugh's show yesterday and, along with Mark Steyn and Austin Bay, made a huge dent in Hugh's reluctance over the DP World ports deal. Here's a Kaplan quote from the interview.

I mean, to the degree that the U.S. can still be in control of personnel working there, and security, I have no problem with Dubai's competence at running a port as well or better than we do. And it's part of the process of globalization, and at this point, if you tell them no, simply because they're Arabs, you're going to lose a lot more in the Arab world than you'd ever gain by a marginal improvement in security. And I think the security issue can probably be gotten around without tearing up the contract.