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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 November 2006, 23:42 GMT
US Bechtel wraps up Iraq projects
Enlarging the fresh water treatment plant near Baghdad
Bechtel has been in Iraq since 2003
One of the biggest US companies involved in reconstruction projects in Iraq has said it is leaving the country after three years of work there.

Bechtel Corp - which has finished its last contract - says the security situation in Iraq has made it too difficult to continue operating.

Fifty-two Bechtel employees have been killed and 49 wounded since 2003.

The engineering giant was hired by the US government. Its services cost Washington $2.3bn (1.2bn).

'Heartbreaking'

Bechtel said it would not seek any more work in the country after company's last contract expired earlier this week.

Cliff Mumm, Bechtel's president for infrastructure work, said the firm had not expected to be operating in a conflict situation.

He said it was "heartbreaking" to see how security in Iraq had deteriorated.

"Did Iraq come out the way you hoped it would?" Mr Mumm was quoted as saying by the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper.

"I would say, emphatically, no. And it's heartbreaking," he said.

The San-Francisco-based firm was asked to rebuild Iraq's roads and bridges after the US-led invasion.

Bechtel was also involved in building water treatment plants and hospitals and expanding Iraq's power grid.

The company said it had completed all but two of nearly 100 projects in Iraq.

Most of its workers were killed while off duty, Bechtel's spokesman Jonathan Marshall was quoted as saying by the Associated Press news agency.

Bechtel employed more than 40,000 workers, mostly Iraqis, at the height of its activity in the country.


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