Iran Vows to Play Major Role in Iraq's Reconstruction

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WAR-BATTERED Iraq today sought to attract global investors to rebuild the country after defeating the Islamic State group, offering hundreds of projects and touting extensive legal guarantees.

The plan spans the next 10 years and Iraq announced on the opening day of the conference that the country needs investments worth US$88.2 billion, of which US$22 billion were required immediately.

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

"We hope French expertise will be used for the reconstruction", Iraq's Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari replied.

"The government came out and said: we are serious about reforms. they know they need to give confidence to the global community that Iraq is a new country, a new place to invest and that will be protected and safe", said Ms Grande.

The Iraqi government declared victory over the Islamic State group in December after recapturing the northern city of Mosul and other areas from the extremists.

Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region Nechirvan Barzani received the US Ambassador to Iraq Douglas Silliman in Erbil Feb. 8 2018
Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region Nechirvan Barzani received the US Ambassador to Iraq Douglas Silliman in Erbil Feb. 8 2018

Officials said housing was an urgent priority - the war damaged some 138,000 housing units, of which half had been completely destroyed. The official said the package will be structured so that the initial amount could rise to as much as $5 billion over several years.

Iraq published a list of 157 projects for which it is seeking private investments at the conference, which some 1,900 delegates representing foreign governments, private firms and nongovernment organizations have registered to attend. These projects are largely focused on infrastructure, with rebuilding the facilities at Mosul's airport a major focus, according to Reuters.

Rebuilding homes, hospitals, schools, roads, businesses and telecommunications will be the keys to providing jobs, ending the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people and putting an end to decades of political and sectarian violence. The United Nations estimates 40,000 homes need to be rebuilt in Mosul alone.

Freeland's announcement comes as the worldwide conference on Iraq's reconstruction begins in Kuwait, and nearly two months after the Iraqi government made a plea for funds to rebuild liberated areas.

Since the 1980s, resource-rich Iraq has been battered by war and global economic sanctions.

Clean-up crews in Mosul, Iraq, after the city was recaptured from the Islamic State in July previous year. 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.


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