News ID: 209994
Published: 1100 GMT February 14, 2018

Billions pledged for Iraq, but still short of goal

Billions pledged for Iraq, but still short of goal

Billions of dollars were pledged Wednesday at a donor conference for Iraq's reconstruction after the country's devastating war with the Daesh terror group, though the amounts announced so far still fall short of the $88.2 billion Baghdad is seeking.

The biggest pledge at the gathering in Kuwait came from Turkey, which announced $5 billion in credit to Iraq, while Kuwait's emir said his oil-rich nation will give $1 billion in loans and $1 billion in direct investments, AP reported.

Saudi Arabia pledged $1.5 billion while the Kuwait-based Arab Fund said Iraq would receive $1.5 billion in infrastructure aid in coming years.

Qatar, which is embroiled in a diplomatic crisis with a quartet of Arab nations led by Saudi Arabia, pledged $1 billion. The United Arab Emirates pledged $500 million, as did the Islamic Development Bank. Germany pledged 500 million euros ($617 million) and the European Union 400 million euros ($494 million).

The United States, which has been embroiled in Iraq since its 2003 invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein, did not directly give at the conference Wednesday in Kuwait City. However, it plans to offer over $3 billion in loans and other financing to help American firms invest in Iraq.

The donation by Kuwait's emir, the 88-year-old Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, showed the deep interest his nation has in making sure Iraq becomes a peaceful, stable country after the war against Daesh.  

"This large assembly of international communities that are here today is reflective of the large loss that Iraq withstood in facing terrorism," Sheikh Sabah said. "Iraq cannot 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."

Iraq, however, still needs far more donations — overall, Baghdad is seeking $88.2 billion in aid from donors.

Among the hardest-hit areas in Iraq is the city of Mosul, which Iraqi forces recaptured from the Daesh in July 2017.

The victory came at a steep cost for Mosul, as coalition airstrikes and extremist suicide car 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. The United Nations estimates 40,000 homes need to be rebuilt in Mosul alone.

The war against Daesh displaced more than 5 million people in Iraq, only half of whom have returned to their hometowns.

However, officials acknowledge a feeling of fatigue from international donors, especially after the wars in Iraq and Syria sparked the biggest mass migration since World War II. Iraq also is OPEC's second-largest crude producer and home to the world's fifth-largest known reserves, though it has struggled to pay international firms running them.




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