Iraq, Egypt near $1 b. deal on worker compensation

CAIRO - Egypt and Iraq are close to a deal on compensation estimated at $1 billion for Egyptian workers who were not paid remittances during Iraq's 1990-1991 invasion of Kuwait, officials from both sides said on Wednesday.
Iraq had been in financial crisis then as it could not sell oil, its only export, Iraqi Labor Minister Nassar Rubaie said.
"We are close to reaching a solution to the issue of Egyptian compensation in Iraq," said Egyptian Manpower Minister Ahmed Hassan el-Borai after Rubaie held talks in Cairo.
The two countries have been trying to resolve the issue involving about 900,000 Egyptians since Saddam Hussein was toppled in 2003. The row focuses on about $544 million in interest on an original $408 million owed to Egyptian workers.
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