Freeland announces $12 million for reconstruction efforts in Iraq

15 February, 2018, 02:11 | Author: Bert Pena
  • US not planning to contribute money at Iraq reconstruction conference officials

The Iraqi government needs $88.2 billion (€71.92 billion) for reconstruction efforts after its victory against the "Islamic State" (IS) militant group, Iraqi Planning Minister Salman al-Jumaili said at the opening of an worldwide conference on the issue in Kuwait on Monday.

Planning Minister Salman al-Jumaili said an assessment by Iraqi and worldwide experts put reconstruction costs at $88.2 billion (71.8 billion euros).

Qusai Abdelfattah, director general at the planning ministry, said US$22 billion of those funds were needed immediately and the rest for the medium term.

Kuwait on Sunday underlined the importance of hosting the International Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq (KICRI) and Conference against the Islamic State (IS).

The United States leads the coalition and hopes that after a three-year fight to defeat the militants it can count largely on Gulf allies to shoulder the burden of rebuilding Iraq.

Large parts of Iraq's second-largest city, Mosul, are still in ruins, more than six months after it was retaken by the government.

Baghdad declared victory against IS in December, after Iraqi forces, backed by a US-led coalition, regained control of the large parts of the country seized by the jihadist group in mid-2014.

He said funds are urgently needed to "restore basic and infrastructure services" in many provinces.

However, the U.S. government is not expected to pledge direct financial aid at the conference.

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Officials said housing was an urgent priority - the war damaged some 138,000 housing units, of which half had been completely destroyed.

Arriving in Kuwait for the conference, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said his country would "stand by the Iraqi people forever".

"I have come to tell you of France's support to accompany you".

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Iraq would only successfully rebuild with outside help. "We call for the unconditional and honest participation of the worldwide community in the reconstruction of Iraq", he added.

Iraq is also planning to establish four economic zones, he said.

Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance was ready to answer a U.S. call for it to expand its small training mission in Iraq to support reconstruction.

Iraqi forces are backed by an global coalition led by the USA, which pounds militant strongholds from the air. The years of insurgency, sectarian violence and ethnic tensions that followed his overthrow in 2003 helped fuel the emergence of IS, a little more than a decade later.

However, officials acknowledge a feeling of fatigue from global donors, especially after the wars in Iraq and Syria sparked the biggest mass migration since World War II.

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