US plans $36 mn embassy in Baghdad
FTP News - Washington, March 26:
The United States has earmarked nearly 36 million dollars to construct a new, well-fortified embassy in Baghdad to represent US interests in a post-Saddam Hussein Iraq, the State Department said Tuesday.
In addition, the department said it planned to spend 20 million dollars to lease safe temporary quarters and office space for its diplomats to work in the Iraqi capital once the ongoing US-led invasion is over.
The money is part of US President George W. Bush's 74.7-billion-dollar supplemental budget request Congress to fund Iraqi reconstruction and assist allies in the war on terrorism, it said.
Spokesman Richard Boucher told reporters that the United States had budgeted 35.8 million dollars for a new "US embassy in Baghdad to represent the people of the United States to the free people of Iraq."
It was not immediately clear if the funds would cover the purchase of new property in Baghdad on which to build the mission or if it would go to constructing the compound on the site of the former embassy in the Iraqi capital.
Boucher could not describe the condition of the former embassy which was abandoned ahead of the 1991 Gulf War.
A second department official said the high cost was due to security requirements "commensurate with the threat level" in Baghdad which is expected to be high for some time after the war is over.
In addition to construction costs, the money will pay for the purchase and installation of barriers around the perimeter of the embassy, closed circuit television cameras, video equipment, bomb detection devices and armored vehicles, the officials said.
The new embassy will also be equipped with state-of-the-art chemical and bilogical weapons counter-measures and will be patrolled by "US surveillance detection team" as well as local guards, the official said.