Iraq calls for urgent aid from donor countries
Iraqi interim government issued an urgent call for help from donor countries Tuesday.
“Iraq needs your help now,” interim Planning Minister Mahdi Al-Hafidh told a meeting of the International Reconstruction Fund Facility for Iraq and the Donors Committee. According to AFP, he urged donors to “activate financial promises.”
A total of $33 billion were pledged at the first donors’ conference in Madrid last October. $1 billion of it was earmarked in February to the fund. A total of 17 projects and programs valued at $230 million have so far been approved, UN officials said.
World Bank officials have said $500 million should be committed to specific projects within two months.
Five more countries, including Italy, Finland and France, have joined the Iraq donor committee.
The committee, launched in February, comprised Australia, Britain, Canada, the European Commission, India, Japan, South Korea, Kuwait, Norway, Qatar, Sweden and the United States. The panel is open to all states which contribute at least $10 million to the Fund Facility for Iraq.
Hafidh spoke of the “immense challenges” facing Iraq, mainly “high levels of crime, kidnapping, rampant violence.”
But the minister also listed achievements such as opening 2,400 schools, 240 hospitals, 1,200 clinics and one million telephone lines - 20 percent more than under the ousted regime of Saddam Hussein. (menareport.com)
© 2004 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)