Iraq says decision on Russian wheat imports could be months away

Iraq, which sources its wheat from Australia, the United States and Canada, has specific requirements for its imports. (File/AFP)
Updated 11 June 2019
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Iraq says decision on Russian wheat imports could be months away

  • Local wheat production so far from this year’s harvest was 2.5 million tons
  • “We hope that our production is going up and this will affect what we do for the future,” an official said

LONDON: Iraq is still holding discussions over possible wheat imports with Russia and it could be months before any outcome is known, Iraq’s deputy trade minister said on Tuesday.
“Up until now we cannot say whether we will take or not — it depends on the results,” Haitham Jameel Ismail Al-Khshali said.
Al-Khshali said a technical group of Iraqi specialists was looking into the issue.
“It will take some time ... maybe a few months,” he told Reuters on the sidelines of an International Grains Council conference in London.
Iraq, which sources its wheat from Australia, the United States and Canada, has specific requirements for its imports.
“We are open to all countries in the world,” Al-Khshali said.
“With Russia we are not finished yet — we cannot announce now something until all these talks are finished.”
Al-Khshali said local wheat production so far from this year’s harvest was 2.5 million tons, adding it potentially could reach 4 million or 5 million tons.
When asked about wheat imports this year, he said “until now we cannot say — it depends on our production.”
“We hope that our production is going up and this will affect what we do for the future,” he added.
Interfax quoted Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih as saying on Monday that Riyadh may allow deliveries of Russian wheat in July.
Al-Falih said the Saudi side had not yet finished testing Russian wheat, adding he hoped a decision would be reached in July.


Ethiopian Airlines rejects ‘pilot error’ claim in US

Updated 4 min 8 sec ago
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Ethiopian Airlines rejects ‘pilot error’ claim in US

  • The Ethiopian Airlines crash killed all 157 people onboard and drew scrutiny to the new Boeing model’s anti-stall system
  • Boeing is working to submit a modified version of the aircraft’s software and hopes to get the approval of aviation authorities

LONDON: A US politician who blamed pilot error for contributing to the deadly crash of a Boeing 737 Max flown by Ethiopian Airlines was “seriously misinformed,” the carrier’s boss has said.
Republican Sam Graves told a House of Representatives hearing last month that “facts” in investigations after crashes in both Ethiopia and Indonesia “reveal pilot error as a factor in these tragically fatal accidents.”
He also said “pilots trained in the United States would have successfully handled the situation” in both incidents.
But in a BBC interview aired Monday, Ethiopian Airlines chief executive Tewolde GebreMariam said criticisms of his crew’s actions were “seriously misinformed,” and that Graves did not “have the facts in his hands.”
“People who’ve made those comments should ask themselves, ‘Why on earth have they grounded 380 airplanes over the world?’ The facts speak for themselves,” he said.
The 737 MAX 8 is currently grounded worldwide after the March crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, which killed all 157 people onboard and drew scrutiny to the new Boeing model’s anti-stall system.
Pilots were already worried about the safety of the model following the October 2018 crash in Indonesia of a Lion Air 737 MAX 8 that killed 189 people.
Boeing is working to submit a modified version of the aircraft’s software and hopes to get the approval of the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and its counterparts throughout the world.
But aviation regulators meeting last month were unable to determine when the popular jet might again be allowed to fly, causing costly headaches for airlines worldwide.
Revelations of close ties between Boeing and the FAA in testing the MAX led to a crisis of confidence among the public and airline pilots, as well as some of the other agencies that regulate civil aviation.
“We have work to do to win and regain the trust of the public,” Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg conceded at the Paris Air Show on Sunday.