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Kuwait pledges $2bn for Iraq reconstruction

14 February 2018, 07:21 | Myrtle Vega

GCAD Foreign Ministers’ meeting

GCAD Foreign Ministers’ meeting

The nations gathered at the Iraq reconstruction summit in Kuwait agreed on Wednesday to supply the war-torn country with $30 billion (€24 billion) in aid. Saudi Arabia pledged $1.5 billion.

Qatar said it would allocate US$1 billion in loans and investments, while the United Arab Emirates pledged US$500 million in investment.

The Islamic Development Bank also pledged $500 million toward reconstruction in Iraq. It shows Kuwait's deep desire to see its northern neighbour have a stable government after the years of unrest following the 2003 US -led invasion that toppled Saddam.

The reconstruction conference was taking place two weeks before Kuwait celebrates its Liberation Day from Iraq, which invaded in 1990, leading to defeat by a US-led coalition and more than a decade of sanctions against Baghdad.

"Kuwait will earmark $1bn in loans to Iraq and will commit to another $1bn as investments", Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah said at the gathering. Iraq also still owes Kuwait reparations from Saddam's 1990 invasion that sparked the 1991 US -led Gulf War.

"Together with community and tribal reconciliation, national political settlement and accord, based on the principle of citizenship with equal rights, obligations, justice and opportunities for all, is critically important for a future stable, united and prosperous Iraq", said the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (SRSG) for Iraq, Ján Kubiš. "Iraq can not commence the mission of rebuilding itself without support, which is why we are all here today from all around the world, to stand by Iraq's side".

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Saudi Arabia will provide $1bn through its Saudi Fund for Development and $500m in export credit, Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir told the conference, which ends later on Wednesday. Iranian-backed Shiite militias also participated in the operation, fighting in the villages around the city.

The destruction was heaviest in Mosul, where coalition airstrikes and extremist suicide vehicle bombs destroyed homes and government buildings.

Of the money needed, Iraqi officials estimate that $17 billion alone needs to go toward rebuilding homes, the biggest single line item offered Monday, on the first day of meetings.

Baghdad says it needs almost US$90 billion to rebuild after a three-year war against IS which devastated homes, schools, hospitals and economic infrastructure, displacing millions of people.

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. Only half of them have returned to their home towns.

The United States and the United Nations say that failure to help Iraq rebuild could lead to a reversal in gains made against IS there, as the conditions that kindled sectarian alienation and bloodshed, allowing militants to take over, would remain. The package will be structured so that the initial amount could rise to as much as $5 billion over several years.



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