Middle Eastern company seeks 45-day review of port deal

| 2/27/2006

The company at the center of a controversy over the operation of U.S. ports has requested a 45-day review of the deal that started it all.

Dubai Ports World, which is owned by the United Arab Emirates, is planning to takeover London-based Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co., a move that would give it management rights to terminals at six major U.S. ports.

Following the announcement of the deal, a firestorm erupted with both Republicans and Democrats harshly criticizing the Bush administration for approving the deal in spite of the fact that the U.A.E. had ties to the September 11 terror attacks on the U.S.

CNN reported that the company made its request for review to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., the committee that approved the deal in the first place.

Critics of the deal, including Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-TN, welcomed the review. Frist said in a statement on Sunday, Feb. 26, that he would wait until the 45-day review was complete before taking any further steps.

Frist and other members of Congress had threatened to introduce legislation that would block the sale if the Bush administration refused to consider further review.

Other critics, including Democratic Sens. Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton of New York, said they would still pursue legislation to block the deal regardless of the review, CNN reported.