Donor countries on Thursday renewed their vow to support Iraq’s reconstruction and the political process for a parliamentary election in January, but few offered fresh contributions to the war-torn country as they wrapped up a conference in Tokyo.
Iran offered $10 million in aid during the two-day meeting of the International Reconstruction Fund Facility for Iraq, according to a statement released after the meeting.
Denmark promised $3.6 million, New Zealand pledged about $1 million and South Korea said it was considering fresh aid, without specifying an amount, according to Japanese officials.
Separately, the European Commission said it was ready to offer 200 million euro ($247 million) in fresh aid for reconstruction work. The proposed contribution will be subject to EU approval in the 2005 budget.
Host nation Japan had hoped that France, Germany and Russia, which all opposed the U.S.-led war on Iraq, would offer contributions to show that the international community is united in its support for Iraq’s rebuilding process.
“France and Germany are actively considering (to aid) the reconstruction of Iraq,” said Akio Shirota, chairman of the meeting and Japan’s ambassador of reconstruction aid for Iraq. “That was my impression when I talked to the officials from both nations.”
A senior Foreign Ministry official said that it was “unfortunate” that the three nations did not offer aid during the two-day conference. “But the fact that officials of those nations attended the donor meeting for the first time is progress,” he said.
Meeting participants also stressed the need to disperse the already pledged aid and speed up project implementation.
Out of some $1 billion pledged to the Iraq fund, only $22 million has been actually spent on reconstruction efforts, said Joe Saba, World Bank country director for Iraq.
However, he stressed that all of its resources had been allocated and await disbursement.
Donors asked the fund administrators — the United Nations and the World Bank — to consider “innovative implementation mechanisms” for projects in Iraq, according to the post-meeting statement.
Salih lauds SDF
Iraq’s deputy prime minister expressed gratitude Thursday for the Self-Defense Forces’ humanitarian activities in Samawah, saying that their work should be seen as a model of reconstruction assistance.
During a meeting with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, Barham Salih also stressed the need for the international community to provide support to Iraq, a key nation for stability in the Middle East, a Japanese official said.
“If Iraq failed to rebuild itself, it would mean it gave in to oppression and terrorism and would change the future course of the Middle East,” Salih was quoted as saying. “Failure is not an option for Iraq.”
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.