Iraq seeks $88.2 billion for post-IS reconstruction

Iraq seeks $88.2 billion for post-IS reconstruction

Iraq hopes to raise billions of dollars in pledges at the three-day meeting, as the country reels from the rise of IS and punishing fightback against the jihadist group.

"If the worldwide community doesn't help the government of Iraq to stabilize these areas (devastated by the war) the gains against Daesh could be at risk", said Lise Grande, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, at the Kuwait conference.

However, the figure would be far shy of Iraq's estimates for funds needed to press ahead with post-Daesh reconstruction efforts.

Iraq-OPEC's second-largest oil producer behind Saudi Arabia-will be looking to attract investment mostly in the downstream, planning the construction of new refineries with different capacities, including one at the Al-Faw Port with a 300,000-bpd capacity.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was joining the conference after holding talks on Monday in Cairo where he launched his latest Middle East tour. It "led to the total destruction of its infrastructure". They confirmed the obstacles in Iraq are not restricted to reconstructing the areas affected from the war on terror. Around 2.5 million Iraqis remain displaced by the brutal fighting.

Iraq has suffered from decades of war and it is striking that it is holding its reconstruction conference in Kuwait, which it invaded in 1990, leading to defeat by a US -led coalition and more than a decade of sanctions.

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Iraq reopened to foreign investment after the 2003 US invasion, but the vast majority of the billions of dollars invested went to increasing its oil and natural gas production.

The country sits on some of the world s largest crude reserves, which Baghdad puts at 153 billion barrels, but the war and a slump in world prices have diminished its oil revenues.

It will cost nearly $90bn (£65.1bn) to rebuild war-torn Iraq after three years of bitter fighting with Islamic State (Isis). Tens of billions more were lost indirectly through damage to the wider economy and years of lost growth, the planning ministry said.

"Rebuilding Iraq is restoring hope to Iraq, and restoring the stability of Iraq is stabilizing the states of the region and the world", al-Jumaili told delegates, adding that the reconstruction was therefore partly the global community's responsibility.

Aid groups made pledges of $330 million on the first day of the conference, but officials said much more was needed.

"I have come to tell you of France's support to accompany you". It must renew its embrace of the rule of law, as well as provide answers to families whose loved ones went missing in the war, said Katharina Ritz, the head of the delegation in Iraq for the International Committee of the Red Cross.

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