Iraqi ministers call ondonors to honour pledges

13th October 2004, Comments 0 comments

13 October 2004 , TOKYO - Iraqi officials pleaded for donor countries to honour pledges to their war-torn country for reconstruction at a conference in Tokyo on Wednesday. "Please do not delay - the time to make firm commitments is now. Honour your pledges now," Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Barham Saleh said at the conference. A total of 55 countries and organisations were attending the two-day conference, including some that opposed the United States-led war in Iraq - Russia, France and Germany. During las

13 October 2004 

TOKYO - Iraqi officials pleaded for donor countries to honour pledges to their war-torn country for reconstruction at a conference in Tokyo on Wednesday.

"Please do not delay - the time to make firm commitments is now. Honour your pledges now," Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Barham Saleh said at the conference.

A total of 55 countries and organisations were attending the two-day conference, including some that opposed the United States-led war in Iraq - Russia, France and Germany.

During last year's aid meeting in Madrid, about 40 countries and organizations promised USD 33 billion in grants and loans to Iraq by the end of 2007.

However, only about USD 2.8 billion of that has been deposited in World Bank and UN funds, according to Japan's foreign ministry. 

The goal of the Japan conference not to raise more pledges of aid but to look at how to disburse money that has been committed.

Many donors fear that the security conditions and instability in Iraq will undermine reconstruction efforts.

Iraqi Planning Minister Mehdi Hafedh said the country will step up efforts to improve national security and police forces, and boost oil production.

He said 5,000 new policemen begin duties every week after completing training and the size of the Iraqi border guard force will be doubled by January.

During the meeting, host nation Japan and other donors will ask France, Germany and Russia to join their group and provide funds to the Iraqi reconstruction fund. 

At the conference, Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura said Japan will provide USD 40 million to help Iraq hold parliamentary elections in January.

The money will come from the USD 490 million that Japan has contributed to the International Reconstruction Fund Facility for Iraq, to which Japan is the largest donor.

"In order that the parliamentary elections take place successfully and on schedule, I am pleased to announce today that Japan will contribute USD 40 million," said Machimura in his opening speech at the two-day conference.

It is the first international conference on the issue since sovereignty was handed over to Iraqis from the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority on 28 June.

Meanwhile, US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, who also joined the talks, said that the United States will help Iraq improve the security situation.

"The first priority for the Iraqi interim government is to secure the country so that other reconstruction efforts can succeed," Armitage said.

DPA


Subject: German news
 

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