Iran's Zarif to Take Part in Iraq Reconstruction Conference

Posted February 15, 2018

Iraq is looking to attract US$100 billion worth of foreign investment that would help it rebuild its oil refining and petrochemicals sectors and reconstruct crucial infrastructure after it repelled Islamic State out of its territory following a three-year war against the militants.

The rebuilding effort includes Iraq's infrastructure and economy.

The United States, which leads an global coalition that provided Iraq with key air support in the fight against ISIL, does not plan to pledge any money at the Kuwait conference, US officials said.

According to Arab News, Iraq needs $22.9bn in the short term and $65.4bn in the medium term for reconstruction and recovery, quoting the Iraqi minister of planning Salman Al-Jumaili on Monday.

Around 138,000 houses and flats have been damaged, with half of them completely destroyed.

The United States will be a main absentee from plans to contribute to Iraq's finances, USA officials say as Baghdad seeks to rebuild the country following a devastating battle against the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.

Iraq needs some $20 billion now to begin its reconstruction, al-Hiti said.

He said funds are urgently needed to "restore basic and infrastructure services" in many provinces.

Lise Grande, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, warned failure to help Iraq could lead to renewed instability. The three-day meeting brings together several economic powers as well as regional and worldwide organizations.

"If the worldwide community doesn't help the government of Iraq to stabilize these areas (devastated by the war) the gains against ISIS could be at risk", she said.

While the USA will not make any new direct aid pledges at the conference, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is expected to announce an over $3 billion financial package, an American official said.

Iraq reopened to foreign investment after 2003, with most spent on increasing its oil and natural gas production. The United States, which led the coalition that provided the Iraqi armed forces with crucial air-support in the fight against IS, does not plan on pledging any money at the Kuwait conference, according to American officials. A US -led invasion in 2003 toppled dictator Saddam Hussein and was followed by years of occupation, insurgency and sectarian and ethnic conflict, before Islamic State emerged in 2014.

"Iraq is emerging from a devastating period of conflict and violence", noted the World Bank study cited by the Journal.