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London court rules DP World Djibouti contract 'valid and binding' - Dubai government

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London court rules DP World Djibouti contract 'valid and binding' - Dubai government

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DUBAI (Reuters) - Dubai's government said on Thursday the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) has ruled DP World's <DPW.DI> port container terminal contract in Djibouti was valid and binding.

The government of Djibouti seized the Doraleh Container Terminal from DP World in February over a dispute dating back to at least 2012. Dubai government-controlled DP World has called the seizure illegal.

"The LCIA Tribunal has ruled that Doraleh Container Terminal's Concession Agreement 'remains valid and binding'," Dubai's government media office said in a statement, which did not state when the ruling was made.

"DP World will now reflect on the ruling and review its options."

A DP World spokesman referred to the Dubai government statement when contacted by Reuters for comment.

Aboubaker Omar Hadi, the chairman of Djibouti Ports and Free Zones, said the ruling was inconsequential.

"We are not concerned by what the London Arbitral Tribunal has said, we have never lodged a complaint with this court and the judgement it has rendered does not concern us," he told Reuters.

"We are currently in talks with DP World, which has submitted a repayment plan for the interest they will earn for the remaining 20 years of the Doraleh port concession. We have the recordings of the minutes of our negotiations and we will go in that direction."

Djibouti Ports and Free Zone Authority (DPFZA) said in March it was willing to buy out DP World's 33 percent stake in the container terminal to end the row with one of the world's largest port operators. DP World denied that such an offer had been made.

In 2017, the LCIA cleared DP World of allegations of misconduct associated with the terminal concession awarded in 2000.

(Reporting by Alexander Cornwell in Dubai and Abdourahim Arteh in Djibouti, editing by Alexandra Hudson)

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