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Last Updated: Friday, 24 October, 2003, 18:13 GMT 19:13 UK
Iraq donors pledge at least $13bn
Iraqis wait for work
Iraq officials are confident reconstruction needs will be met
A summit of international donors has raised at least $13bn in pledges, mainly in grants, to help towards the reconstruction of Iraq.

With $20bn already pledged by the United States, the $33bn total falls short of the estimated $56bn needed to rebuild the war-torn country.

But organisers are pleased with the outcome of the conference in Madrid.

Spanish First Deputy Prime Minister Rodrigo Rato said the $33bn did not include export credits, technical assistance or other non-cash aid.

Iraqi officials thanked the 77 countries that took part.

The president of the Iraqi Governing Council, Iyad Allawi, said support for Iraq had been outstanding and he was confident the country's construction needs would be met.

He said the money would help the country get back on its feet as Iraq was a rich nation, made temporarily poor.

HAVE YOUR SAY
The US and Britain should pay for it all. Why should any of the countries who were against the war pick up the bill? We broke it and we should fix it
Janice Wheeler, US

Most of the funds being raised in Madrid are to go into a trust managed by the World Bank, the UN and a committee of Iraqis.

The new fund is designed to lure donors wary of US control, although some aid groups have reportedly questioned whether it will be able to make decisions on the ground.

Continuing violence and disputes over the running of Iraq have also made some potential donors reluctant to commit themselves financially at this stage.

US Secretary of State Colin Powell acknowledged security issues that concern many people in the development and business communities.

But he said the pledges at the conference were a strategic investment in hope.

"The Iraqi people will long remember the assistance we provide them at this critical moment of challenge and hope," he said.

Iraqi woman and US soldier
Iraq is still wracked by instability

"Success will take time, hard work and generous assistance from all of us and we must get started now."

He said some countries that had been unable to make a pledge at the conference may be able to do so in the future.

The World Bank has said $56bn is needed for rebuilding Iraq, while the US-controlled Coalition Provisional Authority says nearly $20bn more will have to be spent on security and the oil sector.

Countries such as France, Germany and Russia, which opposed the US-led war with Iraq, have said they will not donate more than they have already pledged.

No lag

The European Union's Commissioner for foreign affairs Chris Patten said it was important that the money made its way to Iraq quickly.

"We know from previous experience that there's been sometimes a lag, or more than a lag, between promises of help and the arrival of the help itself," he said.

A guide to living conditions and the reconstruction effort in Iraq

"We need to get the money out of the bank and into Iraq as quickly as possible.

For the UK's Secretary for International Development, Hilary Benn, the most significant outcome of the conference was the way the international community has come together "whatever differences of the past".

"We leave Madrid in a much stronger position to continue to support the reconstruction of Iraq in the interests of its people," he said.

The pledges included:

  • $5bn from Japan in grants and loans
  • $500m from Kuwait
  • $500m from Saudi Arabia in loans plus $500m in export credits
  • $232m from Italy
  • $812m from the European Union
  • $290,000 from Slovakia
  • $24.2m from China
  • $3bn-$5bn from the World Bank
  • $4.35bn over three years from International Monetary Fund



WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Tristana Moore
"Donor countries want to make sure that they know where their money is going"



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