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US pleased with outcome of donor conference

The United States has hailed a donor conference to raise funds to rebuild Iraq as a turning point in international support for the shattered country.

This content was published on October 24, 2003 - 19:35

Pledges of around $33 billion (SFr43.14 billion) dispelled initial fears that governments and organisations would refuse to come up with the necessary funds.

“The Iraqi people will long remember the assistance we’ll provide them at this critical moment of challenge and hope,” the United States secretary of state, Colin Powell, told representatives from more than 70 countries gathered in the Spanish capital, Madrid.

Donors other than the US pledged around $13 billion at the two-day conference, a sum which comes on top of the $20 billion promised by the US.

The funds are a first step towards the $56 billion target set by the United Nations and the World Bank for rebuilding Iraq over the next four years.

France said an Iraq free of occupying troops should be the first move towards reconstruction.

“We believe that… transfer of sovereignty to the Iraqi people will help to secure peace and will enhance the reconstruction process,” agreed Germany’s state secretary, Erich Strather.

EU pledge

Nevertheless, Berlin and Paris are contributing to a European Union pledge of $1.5 billion from now until 2007.

“Whatever the disagreements earlier this year… we have now all come together with a shared determination to work with the people of Iraq to build a better future for them and for their region,” said Chris Patten, the EU’s External Affairs Commissioner.

Japan made the largest offer after the US, pledging $5 billion in grants and loans, while Saudi Arabia put forward a $1 billion financing package.

Iraq’s former-arch enemy, Iran, promised a credit facility of up to $300 million and said it would allow Iraq to export oil through Iranian ports. Teheran also offered cross-border electricity and gas supplies.

The World Bank pledged to send between $3 billion and $5 billion to Iraq over the next five years. Two and a half per cent of this money will come from Switzerland, according to Walter Fust, head of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

The International Monetary Fund said it would provide as much as $4.25 billion over the next three years.

swissinfo with agencies

In brief

Around $13 billion has been raised an international donor conference to rebuild Iraq.

The money comes on top of a US pledge of $20 billion.

The World Bank and United Nations estimate that reconstruction efforts will cost $56 billion.

Switzerland did not promise any new funds, but said it would continue providing humanitarian aid to the tune of $16 million a year.

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Key facts

The US has pledged $20 billion.
Japan promised $5 billion in grants and loans.
Saudi Arabia put forward a $1 billion financing package.
Iran promised a credit facility of up to $300 million.
The World Bank said it would send between $3-5 billion between now and 2008.
The IMF pledged as much as $4.25 billion over the next three years.
The EU's combined aid for Iraq totals $1.5 billion from now until 2007.
Switzerland did not promise any new funds, but said it would continue providing humanitarian aid to the tune of $16 million a year.

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