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US Lawmakers Seek Compromise Over Ports Deal

U.S. lawmakers are working on a compromise deal over a controversial decision by the Bush administration to allow a Dubai-owned company to take over management of six major ports in the United States.

Several congressional leaders, including Senate Republican leader Bill Frist, have been talking with officials from Dubai Ports World in recent days in an attempt to head off legislation that would force a 45-day probe into the national security implications of the move. Frist says such legislation may not be necessary, but having time to step back and look at the deal could be helpful.

The legislation could affect the company's $6 billion purchase of a British-owned company that operates the ports in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Miami and New Orleans. President Bush has threatened to veto any legislation blocking or delaying the deal.

New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine announced Saturday that he has invited six other U.S. states to join a lawsuit blocking Dubai Ports World from taking control of the ports.

The deal has been met with a storm of criticism because two of the hijackers involved in the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States were from the United Arab Emirates, and because much of the funding for the attacks was sent through banks in Dubai.

President Bush says criticism of the deal is based on nothing more than anti-Arab sentiment. Dubai Ports World has offered to delay taking over management of the ports until the situation calms.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.