Kuwait pledges 2 bln Dollars to support reconstruction in Iraq

Kuwait pledges 2 bln Dollars to support reconstruction in Iraq

Baghdad says it needs almost $90 billion to rebuild after three years of war with the Islamic State group devastated homes, schools, hospitals and other infrastructure.

"What resulted from this wide momentum of investor and developmental participation in the reconstruction of Iraq has reached $30 billion", he said.

Pehr Lodhammar, a senior program manager for the United Nations Mine Action Service, told reporters that the agency and Iraq's government will have to decide "what we do, and what we leave for now and maybe address later on".

Although the US government was not expected to pledge direct financial aid at the conference, Tillerson said the official USA export credit agency, the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM), would sign with Iraq's finance ministry on Tuesday a $3 billion memorandum of understanding "that will set a stage for future cooperation". The United States leads the coalition and hopes that after a three-year fight to defeat the militants it can count in large part on Gulf allies to shoulder the burden of rebuilding Iraq. It is also counting on a Saudi-Iraqi rapprochement to weaken Iran's influence in Iraq.

The Iranian foreign minister described the International Conference for Reconstruction of Iraq as a significant event and expressed hope regional and global contributions could immediately fix the ruins created by terrorist groups in Iraq.

Kuwait will allocate one billion US dollars in loan and another one billion USA dollars in investment in Iraq to help its reconstruction process, the Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah announced on Wednesday.

Zarif, who arrived in Kuwait on Tuesday to attend the International Conference on the Reconstruction of Iraq, had a meeting with Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Khalid al-Hamad al-Sabah in the evening.

Newsmen report that the director-general of Iraq's planning ministry, Qusay Adulfattah, on Monday said rebuilding Iraq after three years of war with Islamic State will cost more than 88 billion dollars. It was not clear if these investments were new or already in place.

Lodhammar said UNMAS needs another $216 million this year for its operations in 32 areas of Iraq, including the northwestern city of Mosul, on top of 116 in commitments and pledges already made.

Expect more pledges in the coming days while Rex Tillerson tours the Middle East, but it will likely be far short of what Baghdad says it needs.

Iraq declared victory over IS in December, having taken back all the territory captured by the militants in 2014 and 2015. The fighters have also been largely defeated in neighbouring Syria.

But the fighting has been devastating - leaving thousands dead, millions displaced and nearly 150,000 houses destroyed.

On Wednesday, the United Nations launched a two-year Recovery and Resilience programme created to help Iraq's government fast-track the social dimensions of reconstruction.

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