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Last Updated: Saturday, 25 October, 2003, 12:58 GMT 13:58 UK
Madrid conference splits world press
World press graphic

The Iraq donors' conference which ended in Madrid on Friday has elicited a mixed reaction in the world's press.

Some argue that the outcome was better than expected, but others note that many of the pledges take the form of loans and will have to be repaid. Concern is also expressed over how the money will be spent.

The donor conference on aid for Iraq held in Madrid over the last two days has come closer than expected to meeting its short to medium term targets on aid for recovery and reconstruction.

This signals that some of the divisions arising from the war, and the conduct of policy by the United States after it, have now modified sufficiently to allow other states make a greater commitment.

The Irish Times - Ireland

The Iraq donors' conference ended yesterday in Madrid with a more positive message than expected, after the pessimistic expectations hanging over the gathering were exceeded.

La Razon - Spain

Using pressure, the US convinced its main partners and international organisations to overcome their reservations... They wanted to wage war practically single-handedly and without the backing of the UN. But now they don't want to be left to carry the post-war burden alone.

Le Figaro - France

The conference was a first step. Donors owe it to Iraqis rather than to Americans to contribute.

Die Tageszeitung - Germany

Politically, in the end the USA's most powerful allies saved the Iraq donors' conference... Japan and Saudi Arabia's final contributions contributed decisively to bringing the total funds raised to $33bn.

El Mundo - Spain

Contrary to what is being said by popular groups in Iraq, that Arabs have abandoned Iraq and that Arab neighbourly states do not back the Iraqi people in their calamity, the Gulf states have proved that they are the ones most touched by what is going on in Iraq. They are the most compassionate and the quickest.

Al-Jazirah - Saudi Arabia

The Iraqathon wasn't a great success... The donors' conference... was hailed as a victory, with a result of $33bn of aid for Iraq.

But this includes the US contribution which Congress still disputes with George W Bush and which will not be part of the multilateral fund created in Madrid.

Le Soir - Belgium

Rather than a meeting of donors, the gathering in Madrid was a conference of moneylenders. More than two-thirds of what was collected will have to be paid back.

El Pais - Spain

The gathering in Madrid ended in a huge and confused jumble of figures which masked the sorry, shameful truth. Donations proper were in the minority, with a few exceptions such as Japan. Rather the figures bandied about yesterday were made up of loans, lines of credit or export credits.

El Periodico de Catalunya - Spain

The Madrid conference... has ended in what accountants call a huge deficit... The rich Arab states of the Gulf remained silent, except for the Saudis, who promised a billion dollars. Russia, France and Germany refused to commit any money on the grounds that Iraq still has no legitimate authorities...

The practical experience of Afghanistan shows that a huge chasm lies between promises of aid and the release of real money. One thing is clear - the Americans will have to do most of the stumping up.

Trud - Russia

It is obvious that the US was only trying to curry favour with its announcement that it would provide its relief packages as grants, and there is no doubt that the White House has plans to plunder Iraq's resources in the long run.

Tehran Times - Iran

The donors' conference... appears to have concluded in disappointment... Why did the participants at the conference remain largely unforthcoming? The reason is that nobody can be sure where the money will go once the administration in Iraq gets its hands on it.

Arab News - Saudi Arabia

The Iraq donor conference held in Madrid over the last two days can be simply regarded as the greatest international conference to support and encourage terrorism and destruction in recent history... The siege of Iraq was costly not only to the Iraqis themselves but to the countries which implemented it... Now they want the world to donate billions of dollars to support the same policy, at the expense of other poor people who are in greater need of support!

Al-Quds Al-Arabi - London

It is ironic that the aggressors first ruined the country and now they are begging others to help in the construction process.

The Pakistan Observer - Pakistan

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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