Kuwait conference reviews support to Iraqi people

Feb 15, 2018, 05:28
Kuwait conference reviews support to Iraqi people

Iraq has issued an urgent appeal for billions of dollars of global aid to rebuild areas devastated by a 3-year battle with the Islamic State militant group.

Donors and financiers gathered at the conference for the week will try to work out a plan to rebuild Iraq's crumbling infrastructure and cratering economy.

Ahead of a conference on Iraq's reconstruction that will be held in Kuwait next week, Iraq's National Investment Commission published a list of major strategic projects available for investment, with 157 different opportunities up for grabs.

Iraq's Planning Minister Salman al-Jumaili said the country needs 88.2 billion dollars for reconstruction.

The seven provinces attacked by the militants suffered $46 billion in direct damage, including the destruction of 147,000 housing units, and the security forces took $14 billion in losses.

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The United States will be a main absentee from plans to contribute to Iraq's finances, U.S. officials say as Baghdad seeks to rebuild the country following a devastating battle against the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.

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

Nations could help by acting as guarantors with lenders, allowing Iraq to take out soft loans to fund infrastructure projects, Mahdi al-Alaq, secretary general of Iraq's Council of Ministers, told the conference.

Housing is one of the most urgent priorities, delegates heard, after some 140,000 homes were destroyed during the conflict against the jihadist group.

Lise Grande, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, warned failure to help Iraq could lead to renewed instability.

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The first day of the conference is allocated for Iraq reconstruction programs and global assistance in this regard as well as the development works carried out by the non-governmental organizations in Iraq.

It must renew its embrace of the rule of law, as well as provide answers to families whose loved ones went missing in the war, said Katharina Ritz, the head of the delegation in Iraq for the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Non-governmental organizations have pledged $330 million in humanitarian aid, according to Kuwait state news agency KUNA as reported by Reuters.

Analysts said Iraqi leaders are expected to pressure Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab states to step up to the plate.

It will cost nearly $90bn (£65.1bn) to rebuild war-torn Iraq after three years of bitter fighting with Islamic State (Isis).

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A USA -led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein and was followed by years of insurgency, sectarian bloodletting between Sunnis and Shi'ites, as well as ethnic tensions between the Arabs and Kurds, all before ISIL emerged in 2014.