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Int'l conf. for Iraq reconstruction kicks off with large participation

Int'l conf. for Iraq reconstruction kicks off with large participation

Meanwhile, rebuilding Iraq after three years of war with Daesh is estimated to cost $88.2 billion, with housing a particularly urgent priority, Iraqi officials told an worldwide donors conference yesterday.

The Kuwait conference's second day will be devoted to the private sector's role in rebuilding Iraq, with more than 2,000 companies and businessmen due to attend, according to the Gulf country.

"Rebuilding Iraq is restoring hope to Iraq, and restoring the stability of Iraq is stabilizing the states of the region and the world", al-Jumaili told delegates, adding that the reconstruction was therefore partly the worldwide community's responsibility.

Qusai Abdelfattah, director general at the planning ministry, said $22 billion of those funds were needed immediately and the rest for the medium term.

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

Iraq declared victory over Islamic State in December, having taken back all the territory captured by the militants in 2014 and 2015.

In December a year ago, Iraq declared the war with ISIS over and is now seeking foreign investments in major projects that would help it to revive its economy, which has also been hurt by low oil prices.

"Rebuilding Iraq is restoring hope to Iraq, and restoring the stability of Iraq is stabilizing the states of the region and the world", said Planning Minister Salman al-Jumaili.

Damages affecting the seven provinces attacked by ISIS total $46 billion with 147,000 housing units destroyed, according to Reuters.

Iraqi forces are backed by an global coalition led by the USA, which pounds militant strongholds from the air.

The United Nations estimates 40,000 homes need to be rebuilt in Mosul alone.

Analysts said Iraqi leaders are expected to pressure Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab states to step up to the plate.

"But what we have accomplished is less than one percent of what Iraq needs", Hiti said. The years of insurgency, sectarian violence and ethnic tensions that followed his overthrow in 2003 helped fuel the emergence of IS, a little more than a decade later.

This funding also helps internally displaced people in Iraq return home safely and supports the clearance of explosive remnants of war and improvised explosive devices in areas newly liberated from Daesh, states the release.

Al Jazeera's Sami Zeidan reports from Kuwait.

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