MADRID, Oct 24 - Governments and international agencies pledged around $37.5 billion in aid and loans to help rebuild war-ravaged Iraq on Friday as the results of a donors' conference came in well above initial low expectations.
Promises of aid and loans poured in on the final day of an international conference aimed at raising funds towards the $56 billion the United Nations and World Bank say
The pledges came in a confusing mixture, including humanitarian and reconstruction aid, export credits and project finance, and covered different time periods.
But a Reuters calculation showed total pledges of aid and loans totalling some $17.5 billion over a maximum of five years in addition to the $20 billion promised by the
"The Iraqi people will long remember the assistance we'll provide them at this critical moment of challenge and hope," U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell told the conference.
"A strong showing of support from this conference will speed reconstruction and hasten the day when Iraqis can assume full responsibility for their nation."
Iraqi Governing Council President Iyad Allawi said the reconstruction effort would establish a beacon for democracy in the region and spell an end to the violence that has plagued the country since U.S.-led forces toppled Saddam Hussein in April. The conference has struggled against scepticism from critics of the
The World Bank said it would make between $3 billion and $5 billion available through to 2008, while the International Monetary Fund promised support of between $2.5 billion and $4.25 billion over three years.
The European Union said its combined aid for rebuilding
"Whatever the disagreements earlier this year...we have now all come together with a shared determination to work with the people of
Total pledges from the EU community budget and member states from now until 2007 stand at 1.3 billion euros, a figure that will rise when the bloc considers a multi-annual offer from its community budget next spring.
Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi promised a credit facility of up to $300 million, offered cross-border electricity and gas supplies and said it would allow
France, a vocal opponent of the invasion of
French Trade Minister Francois Loos announced no new aid, but described several ways in which