From: Associated Press
Published September 21, 2004 12:00 AM

Japan Donates $11 million to Restore Iraqi Marshes

AMMAN, Jordan — Japan donated US$11 million (euro8.96 million) to restore Iraqi marshes drained during the regime of the ousted leader Saddam Hussein, the Japanese environment minister said Tuesday.

Yuriko Koike told reporters in Amman that the project would take time and the ultimate cost wasn't known.

Earlier Tuesday, Prime Minister Faisal al-Fayez met with Koike and Iraqi Environment Minister Mishka al-Mumen, the official Petra news agency said. Both visitors were in Amman for a U.N. gathering about restoring Iraqi marshland.

Iraqi marshes were dried completely in 1990 under the pretext of preventing Shiite rebels from hiding in the reeds. Some areas were covered over with concrete.

Destroying the 6,000-year-old marshes in the area north of the southern Iraqi city of Basra killed rare species of birds, fish, and plants.

Source: Associated Press

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