Iraq stresses role of private sector in reconstruction process

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The Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah called on all friendly countries as well as worldwide organizations to meet in Kuwait and support the efforts in rebuilding Iraq.

As a three-day global reconstruction conference got underway in Kuwait, officials were seeking pledges from donors and investors to restore Iraq s devastated homes, schools, hospitals and economic infrastructure.

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

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.

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In a Monday statement, Qassemi underlined the significance of Iraq as a friend and neighbor of Iran, and said Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will take part in Kuwait conference.

Iraq's volatile security has driven foreign businesses from investing in a country that is only just starting to emerge from a three-year war and has yet to eradicate widespread corruption.

Around 138,000 houses and flats have been damaged, with half of them completely destroyed.

Still, far more money will be needed, Iraqi officials say.

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The officials made their declaration at an global donors' conference hosted by Kuwait.

A US -led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein and was followed by years of insurgency, sectarian bloodletting between Sunnis and Shi'ites, as well as ethnic tensions between the Arabs and Kurds, all before ISIL emerged in 2014.

"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. "We call for the unconditional and honest participation of the global community in the reconstruction of Iraq", he added.

The Kuwait International Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq kicked off Monday in Kuwait City, Kuwait's capital, with the focus on post-war reconstruction of Iraq and vital issues concerned.

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"Rebuilding Iraq is restoring hope to Iraq, and restoring the stability of Iraq is stabilising the states of the region and the world", said Planning Minister Salman al-Jumaili. "We will also be there in the reconstruction phase", Mr Le Drian 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.