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Senators urge deal with French Co cancelled

A group of Republican lawmakers is set to urge the Defence Secy to cancel a $881 mn contract with a France-based Co to feed US Marines.

world Updated: Mar 28, 2003 10:56 IST

A group of Republican lawmakers in the House of Representatives is set to urge Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to cancel a $881 millioncontract with a France-based company to feed US Marines.

"My colleagues and I abhor the idea of continuing to pour American dollars into a French-based firm when those dollars could be feeding our wartime economy," wrote Representative Jack Kingston, a Georgia Republican, in the one-page draft of a letter dated March 26.

"Termination of the relationship between Sodexho and the US military will send a tangible signal to the French government that there are economic consequences associated with their international policies," the letter said.

Sodexho Inc, the US subsidiary of France's Sodexho Alliance, does more than $4.9 billionin "food service and food management business in North America" and "recently" signed an eight-year, $881-million-dollar contract with the Marines, the letter stated.

Asked about the letter, obtained independently by AFX News, Kingston said he was still working on obtaining additional signatures before sending it to the Defence chief.

He declined to comment on how many lawmakers had already signed the letter, but several sources told AFX News on condition of anonymity that there were "around 60" Republican signatures, and no Democrats, to date.

"We're not sure (when it will be sent) because there are so many more members who want to sign it," Kingston told AFX News by telephone from Charlotte, North Carolina, "I haven't had anybody turn me down.

First Published: Mar 28, 2003 10:56 IST