Published: Wed, February 14, 2018

Iraq's reconstruction and the challenges ahead

Iraq's reconstruction and the challenges ahead

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks during the Kuwait International Conference for Reconstruction of Iraq, in Kuwait City on February 13, 2018.

Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah said $1 billion will be in the form of loans, and the rest will be invested in projects in the war-battered country.

It will cost nearly $90bn (£65.1bn) to rebuild war-torn Iraq after three years of bitter fighting with Islamic State (Isis).

Speaking in Kuwait at a gathering of the 74-member coalition to defeat ISIS, Tillerson said the war against ISIS is far from over, even in Iraq and Syria.

Pehr Lodhammar, a senior program manager for the United Nations Mine Action Service, told reporters that the agency and Iraq's government will have to decide "what we do, and what we leave for now and maybe address later on". Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations remain suspicious of Iran's influence in Iraq.

Iraq, the second largest oil producer in the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) cartel, plans to sharply increase its output capacity to seven million barrels a day by 2022, its oil minister said on Tuesday. IS has also been largely defeated in neighbouring Syria.

Iraq's Shi'ite-led government is pursuing a hard diplomatic balancing act by trying to maintain good relations with both the United States and its Sunni Gulf Arab allies and with their main regional foe, Shi'ite Iran.

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

Australia has chipped in an extra $18 million towards efforts to reconstruct Iraq following the downfall of Islamic State. Baghdad has said it is determined to tackle the red tape and corruption that hamper investment.

The Islamic Development Bank also pledged $500 million toward reconstruction in Iraq.

Other global players participating in the conference have also pledged their support, with the European Union promising €400 million ($494 million) in investment and the United States extending its $3 billion credit line, but not promising any direct government aid.

"In Iraq and Syria, ISIS is attempting to morph into an insurgency".

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