United States urges help for Iraq, extends $3 billion credit line
United States urges help for Iraq, extends $3 billion credit line
Kuwait pledges $2 billion for rebuilding Iraq
14 February, 2018, 18:11
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks during the Kuwait International Conference for Reconstruction of Iraq, in Kuwait City on February 13, 2018.
Speaking at the International Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq now being held in Kuwait, the Emir announced his intention to lend $1 billion to Iraq and invest a further $1 billion in the country.
Iraq received promises of billions of dollars, mostly in credit facilities and investment pledges, on Wednesday from allies but has so far fallen short of the amount the government says is needed to recover from three years of war.
According to the report, "Iraq: Reconstruction and Investment", released by Kuwait's Chamber of Commerce and Industry in January, more than 200 projects in 10 sectors, including education, health, transportation and agriculture, are ready to receive financing.
The United States and United Nations say that failure to help Iraq rebuild could unravel gains made against Islamic State there, as the conditions that kindled sectarian alienation and bloodshed, allowing jihadists to take over, would remain.
In an interview with al-Hurra TV, a US-funded Arabic network, Tillerson said the event in Kuwait was not meant to be a donor conference.
Speaking in Kuwait, as part of his five-nation tour of the Middle East, Washington's top diplomat said that despite recent military victories the coalition fighting the militant group must make sure ISIL does not spread from its bases in Syria and Iraq. It is also counting on a Saudi-Iraqi rapprochement to weaken Iran's influence in Iraq.
At the beginning of the war in 2014 Islamic State held nearly a third of the territory inside Iraq, and controlled as much as 34,000 square miles across Iraq and neighbouring Syria, as it pushed to establish an ancient caliphate across the Middle East and beyond.
Arriving in Kuwait for the conference, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said his country would "stand by the Iraqi people forever".
"Today's announcement will contribute to the reconstruction of critical services in areas that have been liberated from Daesh and will concretely encourage women's empowerment in Iraq by promoting their participation in reconciliation efforts and advancing the economic involvement of women in their communities", Freeland said in a statement, referring to Islamic State by its Arabic acronym.
"Doing business in Iraq can be complicated, but the Iraqi market has vast potential", said Tillerson.
At the same time, Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance was ready to answer a United States call for it to expand its small training mission in Iraq to support reconstruction.
"In Iraq and Syria, ISIS is attempting to morph into an insurgency".
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