Middle East countries pledge billions for Iraq's post-IS reconstruction

Mogherini: EU will work with Kuwait for success of KICRI

Baghdad says it needs almost $90 billion to rebuild after a grisly war with Daesh terrorists which devastated homes, schools, hospitals and economic infrastructure, displacing millions of people.

The donation by Kuwait's ruling 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 IS.

Speaking on the sidelines of a major donor conference in Kuwait, H E Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, said Qatar would provide a package of loans and investment worth $1 billion to focus on infrastructure projects.

Other worldwide players participating in the conference have also pledged their support, with the European Union promising €400 million ($494 million) in investment and the U.S. extending its $3 billion credit line, but not promising any direct government aid.

Arabian Gulf countries and institutions have pledged nearly 10 per cent of the estimated $88 billion needed to rebuild Iraq after the country's gruelling three-year war with ISIL. Germany said it would provide $350 million in assistance. Saddam was later toppled by the 2003 US invasion.

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Meanwhile, rebuilding Iraq after three years of war with Daesh is estimated to cost $88.2 billion, with housing a particularly urgent priority, Iraqi officials say.

The conference - organised by Kuwait, Iraq, the European Union, the United Nations and the World Bank - is seeking funding from donors and investors to rebuild Iraq's destroyed homes, schools, and hospitals, and revive its demolished infrastructure and economy. 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.

Iraq's Prime Minister Haidar Al Abadi said he was looking forward to "real and strategic" partnerships, as well as collaborations with countries in the region.

The conference also represents a move by key Sunni states to support Shia Iraq as part of a wider regional power play to curb Iran's influence in the area.

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