AMMAN -Vietnam has begun deliveries to Iraq of 200,000 tonnes of rice through
Jordan's Red Sea port of Aqaba, shipping and trading sources said last week.
The Song-Doung, with 10,000 tonnes of bagged Vietnamese rice, has nearly
finished unloading its Iraq-bound cargo and was due to leave last Friday.
Another Vietnamese ship discharged a similar quantity for Iraq on March
31 and loaded Jordanian phosphate, shippers said.
The two shipments to
Iraq are partial settlement of pre-Gulf War debts, shipping and trading sources
Food and medicine are exempt from UN sanctions imposed on Iraq for
its 1990 invasion of Kuwait. But because of a hard currency crisis Iraq is
unable to meet its needs.
Iraq has so far contracted with Vietnam to
deliver 200,000 tonnes of Vietnamese rice to complete deliveries by the end of
the year, a major rice importer said.
Shipping sources said the two
shipments were the first major delivery of rice to Iraq in 1994 through Jordan's
Red Sea port of Aqaba.
Last year Iraq imported 590,000 tonnes of rice
through Aqaba, the main conduit for its imports of commodities.
300,000 tonnes were Thai rice with the rest from various sources including
Vietnam, traders said.-Reuters