Iraq

Beckett announces extra aid to Iraq

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Speaking at the Launch of the International Compact with Iraq, in Sharm El Sheikh on Thursday 3 May, the Foreign Secretary, Margaret Beckett, thanked the Egyptian hosts and announced that the UK was now committing more money to assist Iraq.

She announced that the UK will spend at least an additional =A3100 million to assist reconstruction in Iraq. Mrs Beckett said:

'This brings our total humanitarian and reconstruction support for Iraq's reconstruction to =A3744 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.'

Commenting on the importance of the two days of conferences to Iraq, 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. All sides must take part in national reconciliation. And all sides must help build a truly inclusive and effective national unity government.

'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. I welcome the Neighbours Meeting tomorrow which I hope will help build practical cooperation between Iraq and the region.

'We urge the Iraqi government to take the lead in implementing the commitments made here today. The international community will support you in this endeavour. We hope that a Compact Secretariat will be set up as soon as possible in Baghdad to monitor the progress of the Compact and of the international commitments made here today.'