On the eve of a major international conference on the reconstruction of Iraq, President of Iraq's Governing Council Ayad Allawi appealed to donor countries to help a new Iraq "regain its rightful place in the world community."
The Madrid International Donor’s Conference,to be held from October 23-24, will seek funding from the donor community to address priority reconstruction and rehabilitation needs in Iraq, focusing on both urgent and medium-term needs for supporting sustainable development.
Allawi, who is serving this month as the President of Iraq's 25-member governing council, declared at a recent press conference that "a free, secure and stable Iraq is in the interest of all nations and all people." He is heading a large Iraqi delegation conference, which includes five members of the Governing Council and the ministers of foreign affairs, planning, the interior, finance, trade, and public works.
Iraq needs some $36 billion for reconstruction for the years 2004 to 2007, according to the findings of by the United Nations Development Group (UNDG) and the World Bank Group with assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The EU has suggested putting up $250 million, Canada has made an offer of $200 million and the US has requested from Congress a $20 billion budget for Iraqi assistance for 2004. The Japanese government has offered $1.5 billion in near-term aid for the reconstruction of Iraq and the World Bank will announce support in the range of $3-5 billion at the conference.
The Madrid Conference was organized by Spain on behalf of the US, EU, Japan and United Arab Emirates (UAE) in cooperation with the United Nations (UN) and other international agencies. Over 90 delegations from donor countries and aid agencies are expected to attend. The meeting will open with addresses from UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and Spain's Foreign Minister Ana Palacios. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )