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Iraq seeks extra cash to rebuild
September 13, 2004
The interim Iraqi government has said it needs an extra $3.4bn (1.9bn) to restore water and power supplies.
Iraqi planning minister Mehdi Hafedh said his government would ask for the additional funds at a donors' conference in Tokyo next month.

"This will be high on the agenda because it's very important to us," he told the Reuters news agency.

Mr Hafedh said the money would plug a gap caused by a US decision to redirect part of the reconstruction budget.

Security issue

Last month, Washington reallocated $3.4bn of the $18.4bn it has set aside to rebuild Iraq's water and power networks towards measures aimed at improving security and creating jobs.

Mr Hafedh acknowledged that improving security was "important."

"Unless we have full security in the country it is difficult to imagine any quick rehabilitation," he said.

Attacks by Iraqi insurgents, many of them directed at foreign contractors hired to fix the country's shattered infrastructure, have drastically slowed the reconstruction effort.

According to Mr Hafedh, the US has spent just $700m - a small fraction of the available sum - on reconstruction projects so far this year.

Persistent electricity blackouts and water shortages more than a year after the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime have exacerbated Iraqi resentment towards the US-led coalition forces.


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