UAE and Gulf states pledge billions for Iraq

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After declaring victory of the Islamic state, who occupied a third of the country, last December, Iraqi officials says rebuilding the country from the destruction left behind will cost more than $88 billion, with housing a priority.

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani told Reuters on the sidelines of the conference his country was committed to supporting reconstruction in Iraq and would focus on infrastructure projects.

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.

Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah (C) and Secretary general of the United Nations Antonio Guterres attend the second day of an global conference for reconstruction of Iraq, in Kuwait City, on February 14, 2018.

Iraq aims to secure investments worth $100 billion to rebuild its infrastructure after a three-year war against ISIS. Germany pledged 500 million euros ($617 million) and the European Union 400 million euros ($494 million).

Iraq invaded in 1990, leading to defeat by a USA -led coalition and more than a decade of sanctions.

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The reconstruction conference is taking place two weeks before Kuwait celebrates its Liberation Day from Iraq. "Iraq can not commence the mission of rebuilding itself without support, which is why we are all here today from all around the world, to stand by Iraq's side".

Iraq's minister of planning Qusai Abdelfattah had said his country needed an estimated $88.2bn to achieve its goals - $22bn of which are needed "immediately", he noted.

Daesh came to prominence in Iraq in 2014 when the group captured the northern cities of Fallujah, Mosul and Tikrit, representing nearly a third of the country. The United Nations estimates 40,000 homes need to be rebuilt in Mosul alone.

The war against the Islamic State group displaced more than 5 million people in Iraq, only half of whom have returned to their hometowns.

Iraq's public finances remain dependent on oil and the government is also trying to modernise an economy that has long suffered from corruption and bureaucracy.

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