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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 July, 2003, 21:47 GMT 22:47 UK
Poland seeks Iraqi oil stake
Polish Foreign Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz (left) with US Secretary of State Colin Powell
Poland has been a staunch supporter of the US-led war
Poland, which has sent troops to support the US-led forces in Iraq, has acknowledged its "ultimate objective" is to acquire supplies of Iraqi oil.

The Polish Foreign Minister, Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz, said his country had never disguised the fact that it sought direct access to the oilfields.

He was speaking as a group of Polish firms signed a deal with a subsidiary of US Vice President Dick Cheney's former company, Halliburton.

The US firm, Kellogg, Brown and Root, has already won million-dollar contracts to carry out reconstruction work in Iraq.

"We have never hidden our desire for Polish oil companies to finally have access to sources of commodities," Mr Cimoszewicz told the Polish PAP news agency.

Polish troops

Access to the oilfields "is our ultimate objective," he added.

Polish soldiers are to command one of the post-war administrative zones being set up to run Iraq.

Poland firmly supported the United States during the Iraq war, and sent a small number of troops during the combat.

About 250 Polish soldiers left for Kuwait on Wednesday to begin preparations for a multinational peacekeeping force in central Iraq.

Poland will take command of more than 9,000 troops from 15 nations - including 2,300 of its own - when the force is ready at the beginning of September.

The sector under Polish command will be sandwiched between the US and British sectors.

It is the first time Poland has led such a large multinational peacekeeping force.


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