Tuesday, May 2, 2006


Giant U.S. embassy rising in Baghdad

`Three years after a U.S.-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein, only one major U.S. building project in Iraq is on schedule and within budget: the massive new American embassy compound.

The $592 million facility is being built inside the heavily fortified Green Zone by 900 non-Iraqi foreign workers who are housed nearby and under the supervision of a Kuwaiti contractor, according to a Senate Foreign Relations Committee report. Construction materials have been stockpiled to avoid the dangers and delays on Iraq’s roads.

“We are confident the embassy will be completed according to schedule (by June 2007) and on budget,” said Justin Higgins, a State Department spokesman.

The same cannot be said for major projects serving Iraqis outside the Green Zone, the Senate report said. Many including health clinics, water-treatment facilities and electrical plants have had to be scaled back or in some cases eliminated because of the rising costs of securing worksites and workers.’

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