The Minsk car factory MAZ could suffer losses of USD 40 million as a result of the war in Iraq. This was announced to a Rosbalt correspondent by the MAZ public relations department.
According to Head of the PR Department Valentin Lopan, the UN approved several contracts to supply almost 800 Belarus cars to Iraq in 2003 as part of the Oil for Food programme, which would have been worth about USD 40 million. 'There is a feeling of uncertainty now after the outbreak of war,' said Mr Lopan. He added that 'if the worst comes to the worst and the contracts fall through, this will have a serious economic impact on the enterprise.'
In 2002 MAZ delivered about 900 lorries, worth USD 38 million, to Iraq in 2002 as part of the Oil for Food programme. Since 1999 the Belarus enterprise has sold about 2,500 vehicles to Iraq.
The remarks from the Pope came as "a very strong step towards degradation," "given the rather massive nature of homosexuality" among the Catholic clergy.