Middle East countries pledge billions for Iraq's post-IS reconstruction

Emir-Sheikh

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Heading a diplomatic delegation, the Iranian foreign minister has travelled to Kuwait to join officials from more than 70 countries and global organizations for the worldwide Conference on the Reconstruction of Iraq, which opened on Monday.

According to UNICEF representative in Iraq Peter Hawkins, the conference on the reconstruction of this country, organized by Kuwait and scheduled for February 12th to 14th, represents a unique opportunity to draw attention to the alarming situation of children, among other issues.

Meanwhile, the United States urged members of the coalition fighting Islamic State yesterday to help rebuild Iraq or risk the reversal of the gains made against the group there.

The government in Baghdad says it needs almost $90bn to rebuild devastated homes, schools, hospitals and economic infrastructure after three years of war against IS.

Iraq's minister of planning Qusai Abdelfattah had said his country needed an estimated $88.2bn to achieve its goals - $22bn of which are needed "immediately", he noted.

Rebuilding homes, hospitals, schools, roads, businesses and telecommunications will be key to providing jobs for the young, ending the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people and putting an end to decades of political and sectarian violence.

He also announced a new, two-year Recovery and Resilience Programme.

Saudi Arabia said it would allocate $1 billion for investment projects in Iraq and $500 million to support Iraqi exports.

Other worldwide players participating in the conference have also pledged their support, with the European Union promising €400 million ($494 million) in investment and the U.S. extending its $3 billion credit line, but not promising any direct government aid.

Mr Al Abadi said that the Iraqi "vision" would rely on the principle of cooperation for Iraq to become a "gateway for joint interests".

It will also help law enforcement authorities and promote women's participation in rebuilding and reconciliation efforts.

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