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Kuwait summit: $30 billion to rebuild Iraq

February 14, 2018

The three-day meeting in Kuwait City brought 74 nations together to help Iraq financially rebuild after 15 years of war. Among the biggest donors was neighboring Turkey's $5 billion pledge.

International donor conference for Iraqi reconstruction
Image: picture alliance/abaca/C. Ozdel

Countries pledge billions to rebuild Iraq

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. The generous sum still fell short of the $88 billion that were originally requested by the Iraqi government, but reached the target for "immediate assistance" sought by Bagdad.

Read more: War-torn Iraq seeks help from abroad to rebuild

The Kuwaiti summit brought together NGO's and countries alike to negotiate an assistance package that would help Iraq rebuild itself after 15 years of armed conflict, dating back to the 2003 US invasion and culminating with the recent devastation inflicted by the "Islamic State" insurgency.

Over 70 countries were in attendance at the meeting, including important players like the United States, the EU, Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Germany, among others.

The US did not promise any aid at the conference. Instead, the Trump administration will offer over $3 billion in loans, loan guarantees and insurance funds to American firms investing in Iraq.

Read more: Siemens aims for active role in rebuilding war-torn Iraq

Iraq's neighbors pledge $8.5 billion

Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Turkey vowed to provide a combined sum of $8.5 billion, with Turkey and Kuwait providing the bulk of this sum.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced Ankara's pledge of $5 billion and, without providing further details, said that the money would go to "projects and investments."

Kuwait's $2 billion contribution to Iraq's reconstruction was significant, considering that Iraq still owes Kuwait reparations from Saddam Hussein's 1990 invasion that led to the 1991 Gulf War.

Read more: Iraq to resume oil reparations to Kuwait for Gulf War devastation, says UN

The Kuwaiti emir, Sabah Al Ahmad, spoke on Wednesday about the difficulty Iraq faces. "We realize the scale of destruction wrought on Iraq as a result of terrorist organizations' control of some of its lands," Sabah said at the conference.

He also explained his country's involvement and initiative as it related to its own security. "Iraq's stability is an inseparable part of security and stability of the state of Kuwait and the region," Sabah said.

Housing infrastructure funds are a priority

With the help of a US-led alliance, Iraq declared victory over "Islamic State" insurgency in December 2017, after its forces successfully reclaimed all the territory held by the extremist group.

The war against the extremist group devastated homes, schools, hospitals, economic infrastructure and displaced more than 5 million people. Only half of them have returned to their home towns.

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

Iraqi officials estimate that the biggest chunk of the money needed, around $17 billion, is required solely to rebuild homes. The United Nations estimates that some 40,000 homes need to be rebuilt in Mosul alone.

jcg/kms (AFP, dpa)

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