Kuwait will host Iraq reconstruction conference in February

Deputy foreign minister said despite "past wounds", his country had a "moral, humanitarian and Arab" duty to support its neighbour

Kuwaiti deputy foreign minister Khaled Al Jarallah and secretary general of Iraq’s council of minister Mehdi Al Alaq.Handout photos from KUNA
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Kuwait will host an international summit in February on the reconstruction of war-torn Iraq.

In co-operation with the World Bank and private companies, the conference — scheduled to be held from February 12-14 — will devote its second day to the role of the private sector and civil society organisations in reconstruction.

Kuwait's deputy foreign minister Khaled Al Jarallah said that despite "past wounds", a reference to Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, his country had a "moral, humanitarian and Arab" duty to support its neighbour.

"The stability of Iraq is the stability of Kuwait and the region," Mr Al Jarallah said.

The secretary general of Iraq's council of ministers, Mehdi Al Alaq, said Baghdad and the World Bank had estimated reconstruction would cost at least $100 billion (Dh367bn).

"The conference is expected to stray from the norm while providing lucrative investment opportunities, which will be announced in due course," Mr Al Alaq said.

"ISIS displaced five million people," he said, speaking alongside Mr Jarallah in Kuwait City. "We succeeded in returning half to their areas, but we need international support to return the rest of the displaced."

In December, Iraq forces regained swathes of territory from ISIL and declared victory over the group following three years of war.

Mr Al Alaq said that heavy damage has affected oil, electricity, transport, communications and manufacturing infrastructure, as well as basic services such as water and sanitation.

The International Organisation for Migration announced last week that more than 3.2 million Iraqis had returned home by the end of 2017, but 2.6 million remain displaced.

Meanwhile, the Kurdistan Regional Government's minister of foreign relations, Falah Mustafa, held talks with Kuwait's consul general Omer Al Kandari on Iraq's post-ISIL stage.

"Good exchange with Dr Omar Al Khandari … on the current state of affairs, post ISIS political and economic challenges, the importance of the Iraq reconstruction conference," Mr Mustafa said on Twitter.