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Dubai Ports World Works to Sell US Facilities for Hundreds of Millions

Dubai Ports World, the company at the center of a recent political storm in Washington, now says it will sell its key facilities in the United States to a U.S. buyer. Critics in the U.S. Congress earlier raised strong objections to control of some facilities in key U.S. ports by the company, which is based in the United Arab Emirates.

Dubai Ports World says it will take months to sell its holdings in the United States to a U.S. buyer. The company values these container, passenger and other facilities in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

The U.S. port facilities were part of a controversial multi-billion dollar deal in which DP World bought port facilities in the United States and other countries from a British company.

Last week DP World tried to deflect criticism of the deal by saying it would "transfer" its American facilities to a U.S. entity.

New York Senator Chuck Schumer, who had voiced strong opposition to DP World's control of some U.S. port facilities, expressed relief that it now plans to sell its U.S. port holdings.

"It is the first time we have gotten clarification that the intent is for full divestiture of the American part of the British company before Dubai Ports World buys it," he said.

Senator Schumer says he is reassured, though he still wants to see the details of any agreement. "That is very good news, that is what we were seeking from the beginning ... We are not trying to use a stick to beat anybody up, we just want to be sure our ports are secure," he said.

DP World is based in the United Arab Emirates, and those who opposed its control of operations in U.S. ports recalled that two of the hijackers in the September 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington came from the UAE, and some of the money used for the attacks passed through UAE banks.

Critics also expressed concern that terrorists might be able to exploit DP World to attack U.S. ports.