Kuwait urges broad participation in reconstruction of Iraq

Kuwait urges broad participation in reconstruction of Iraq

In order to rebuild the country after three years of fighting ISIS terrorism, Iraq needs USD88.2 billion, Planning Minister Salman al-Jumaili said Monday at an global conference on the country's reconstruction in Kuwait.

The US$88.2 billion estimate was based on an assessment study by Iraqi and global experts, the planning minister said.

Iraq needs around $22bn in the short term and another $66bn in the medium term, said the director-general of the country's planning ministry Qusay Adulfattah.

"If communities in Iraq and Syria can not return to normal life, we risk the return of conditions that allowed ISIS to take and control vast territory", US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told a donors' conference for Iraq hosted by Kuwait.

Clean-up crews in Mosul, Iraq, after the city was recaptured from the Islamic State in July a year ago. Iraq is viewed by investors as the 10th most corrupt country in the world, according to Transparency International.

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Iraq declared victory over the jihadists in December, having taken back all the territory captured by the militants in 2014 and 2015.

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

Non-governmental organisations pledged $330 million in humanitarian aid at a parallel NGO conference, Kuwait's state news agency KUNA reported.

Iranian Foreign Minister Spokesperson Bahram Qasemi has said that Iran will participate in the reconstruction of Iraq.

"There may be donor fatigue, but no one today can tell me there isn't money".

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At a press conference held on the sidelines of the opening of the KICRI media center, Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah said Kuwait host these events to support Iraq and stand by its side. We will always be there.

A USA -led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003 and was followed by years of insurgency, sectarian bloodletting between Sunnis and Shias, as well as ethnic tensions between the Arabs and Kurds, all before ISIS emerged in 2014.

The US, which has been leading a military coalition purportedly fighting Daesh, claims it has played a major role in Iraq's war against terrorists.

Tillerson said Washington had also made a decision to provide an additional $200mn to stabilise liberated areas in Syria.

Araji said that Iraq, which has been either at war or under global sanctions since 1980, is offering projects in nearly every field of the economy - from oil to agriculture.

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"The U.S., which has already spent billions of dollars on the war against ISIS and in providing aid to displaced Iraqis and Syrians, doesn't intend to donate funds for Iraq's reconstruction", pointed out WSJ.

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