Kuwait-based fund pledges 1.5 billion to Iraq

14 February, 2018, 19:24 | Author: Irene Delgado
  • “We need to rely on all our neighbours and friends to help Iraq invest in its future,” Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi said. Overall Baghdad is seeking $88.2 billion in aid from donors

The emir of Kuwait pledged $2 billion towards the reconstruction of neighbouring Iraq, at an worldwide donors' conference in Kuwait City on Wednesday.

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

Saudi Arabia has pledged $1.5 billion to help rebuild Iraq after the war with the Islamic State group.

It made the announcement on Wednesday at a conference in Kuwait City. Instead, the Trump administration will offer over $3 billion in loans, loan guarantees and insurance funds to American firms investing in Iraq. Saddam was later toppled by the 2003 USA invasion. Saudi Arabia pledged $1.5 billion.

Iraq invaded oil-rich Kuwait in 1990 under former dictator Saddam Hussein, before it was forced to withdraw by a USA -led military coalition.

Iraq, which still owes Kuwait reparations from the 1991 Gulf War, declared victory over IS in December, having taken back all the territory the militant group captured in 2014 and 2015.

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The victory came at a steep cost for Mosul, as coalition airstrikes and extremist suicide vehicle bombs destroyed homes and government buildings.

"Reconstruction is not just about rebuilding infrastructure-it's about improving people's lives", said United Nations' Humanitarian and Resident Coordinator for Iraq Lise Grande. 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 worldwide firms running them.

The U.S. alone spent $60 billion over nine years - some $15 million a day - to rebuild Iraq.

The statements followed the Kurdistan Region's delegation expressing concerns at the conference that Baghdad concentrated all projects in the central and southern parts of Iraq, leaving only small projects for the autonomous region which had been at the forefront of the war against the Islamic State (IS).

The US did not promise any aid at the conference.

However, the US has offered an over $3 billion package for Iraq from the Export-Import Bank of the United States. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attended the meeting, but skipped a group photograph held before.

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