Syria tenders fail, raising doubt over Assad ability to buy food

September 2, 2013 19:12


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ABU DHABI/BEIRUT- Syria cancelled an urgent tender to buy sugar on Monday, two weeks after cancelling a bid to buy wheat, the latest signs that President Bashar Assad's government is losing its ability to buy food as civil war destroys its harvests.

In the failed transactions, Syria offered to pay for the food with funds held in frozen bank accounts abroad. The failures suggest those offers have been rejected by international traders, raising questions over how Assad's government can pay for food imports in the future.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in July that a fifth of Syria's population was unable to produce or buy enough food, and farmers were short of the seed and fertilisers needed to plant the next crop.

In Monday's failed purchase, Syria's General Foreign Trade Organization (GFTO) cancelled a bid to buy 276,000 tonnes of white sugar after receiving only one offer. The tender was a repeat of a smiliar one in July, which also failed.

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