Devastated Iraq seeks $90 billion for reconstruction

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In order to rebuild the country after three years of fighting ISIS terrorism, Iraq needs USD88.2 billion, Planning Minister Salman al-Jumaili said Monday at an worldwide conference on the country's reconstruction in Kuwait.

He said the figure was based on a study by Iraqi and worldwide experts, who assessed the impact of the conflict that left large swathes of the country destroyed and approximately 2.5 million people displaced.

About $22 billion U.S. will be required in the short term and another $66 billion USA in the medium term, the director general of the country's planning ministry, Qusay Adulfattah, told the conference, without indicating any time frame.

US officials said the United States, which occupied Iraq from 2003-2011 and now leads an worldwide coalition that provided air support against Islamic State, does not plan to pledge funds at the Kuwait conference.

The meeting, which brings together several economic powers, as well as regional and global organisations, will discuss the required contributions to rebuilding Iraq after many years of war and conflict, reports Xinhua news agency.

Baghdad declared victory against IS in December, after Iraqi forces, backed by a US-led coalition, regained control of the large parts of the country seized by the jihadist group in mid-2014.

The government appeal was made during an worldwide aid conference that opened in Kuwait on Monday.

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The housing sector has the most urgent need for funds, said Raja Rehan Arshad, the lead disaster risk management specialist for the World Bank.

Arriving in Kuwait for the conference, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said his country would "stand by the Iraqi people forever".

"There may be donor fatigue, but no one today can tell me there isn't money".

The foreign ministry spokesman noted that Iran will continue to support Iraq in post-ISIL era as it did during the fight against the terrorist group. We will always be there. 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. We were there to participate in the coalition.

Iraq is also planning to establish four economic zones, he said.

The government in Baghdad says it needs almost US$90 billion (RM354.96 billion) to rebuild devastated homes, schools, hospitals and economic infrastructure after three years of war against IS.

"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. It fought Iran for most of the 1980s and invaded Kuwait in 1990, leading to defeat by a US -led coalition and more than a decade of sanctions.

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