Minister M J Akbar attends Iraq conference in Kuwait

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

India on Wednesday assured Iraq of its commitment in rebuilding the war-torn country even as it hailed Baghdad’s success in curbing the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group. Addressing the International Conference for Reconstruction of Iraq in Kuwait, Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar said the world must congratulate the people and government of Iraq for their “historic victory” over a vicious contemporary menace – ISIS and its allies.

“We must recognise this achievement in the best way possible: through meaningful assistance that fashions a reborn Iraq on the ashes of war. Our focus must be on both Iraq and the Iraqi, and in particular the youth. We must win both the battle and the argument,” he said. “The answer to terrorism lies in security, prosperity and reaffirmation of sovereignty. The three sustain each other; any indifference or complacency towards any side of this triangle will make the rehabilitation process infructuous.

“Terrorism, fundamentalism and extremism are the scourge of the 21st century. We must be united in our defence of pluralism and civilisation without ifs and buts. “There is no ‘good terrorism’ or ‘bad terrorism’, all terror is an unmitigated evil. India has always supported a free, democratic, pluralistic, federal and unified Iraq,” Akbar said. He said India had responded to the need for humanitarian assistance even while the war was at its peak in Iraq.

Akbar said India is broadbasing its services with the opening of a consulate general office in Erbil city. India has contributed USD 20 million for assistance to the people of Iraq. Activities under this pledge included milk food supplies through the World Food Programme (WFP), training of Iraqi Foreign Service officers in diplomacy, and other Iraqi officials in information technology, he said.

In cooperation with the World Food Programme, India provided assistance to Iraqi school children and Iraqi refugees in Syria, he said, adding, it also contributed USD 10 million towards the International Reconstruction Fund Facility for Iraq (IRFFI) for investments, reconstruction and development in Iraq. “We welcome Baghdad’s announcement that it is now open for investment. We will play our part with project-specific proposals. We support the important role assigned to private sector investors in rebuilding of the terrorist-affected areas in Iraq,” he said.

“We will also look at any specific requests for rehabilitation projects and essential supplies like medicines, and equipment, as required for internally displaced persons as part of our assistance programme,” he said. He also reminded the international community of the need for an early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism, a draft of which was proposed by India as early as 1996.

Earlier, His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah inaugurated the Kuwait International Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq (KICRI) at Bayan Palace. His Highness the Amir congratulated the Iraqi people on victory achieved and led to the defeat of the so-called Islamic State (IS) and abolishing it from most its soil.

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