03/05/2007

Extra £100m pledged for Iraq

The Foreign Secretary has announced that the UK Government will provide an extra £100 million to be spent on rebuilding Iraq.

Mrs Beckett said: "This brings our total humanitarian and reconstruction support for Iraq's reconstruction to £744 million or $1.5 billion.

"Our work with the Iraqi government building their capacity and unlocking resources already available in Iraq's budget, continues to be a British priority."

Mrs Beckett was commenting on the importance of the two days of conferences at the launch of the International Compact with Iraq in Sharm El Sheikhto in Egypt.

Mrs Beckett told the conference: "The reforms and policies described in the Compact are challenging. Their implementation can play a key part in helping the Iraqi government deliver essential improvements in security and services to the Iraqi people. This will help reinforce the credibility of the National Unity Government and support greater stability in Iraq.

"Iraq's potential and its people's ambition are clear to everyone. But so too are the challenges that Iraq needs to tackle. I salute the personal leadership of PM Maliki in his efforts to restore security, including through the Iraqi-led Fardh Al-Qanoon security plan in Baghdad.

"As Mr Maliki has said, security in Iraq will not improve until all sides reject violence."

The Foreign Secretary called on all sides to take part in "national reconciliation" and for the building of a "truly inclusive and effective national unity government".

Mrs Beckett welcomed a "Neighbours Meeting" to take place tomorrow and which she hoped would help build practical cooperation between Iraq and the region.

"Strong Iraqi leadership needs to be underpinned by constructive engagement by its neighbours. Iraq's regional partners can help reduce the violence in Iraq and encourage political reconciliation," she said.

(SP/JM)

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