Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud Al-Faisal headed the Kingdom's delegation to the Donors' Conference for Reconstruction of Iraq held today in Madrid. Minister of Finance Ibrahim Al-Assaf also participated. Addressing the conference, Prince Saud commented that Iraq and its neighbors have suffered greatly as a result of the policies of the former regime, which launched three wars in two decades, and pointed out that Saudi Arabia has taken up a considerable burden of the costs, particularly in support of the war efforts to liberate Kuwait. Prince Saud noted that since the end of the recent military action, the Kingdom has stood by the brotherly people of Iraq to alleviate their suffering and provided them with humanitarian and relief aid. Saudi Arabia, he said, is looking forward to the quick return of Iraq as an independent state on the track of prosperity and stability, which is vital to the region.
Prince Saud went on to announce that the Kingdom pledges U.S. $ 500 million through the Saudi Development Fund to finance development projects, notably in the field of education, health and infrastructure. The Saudi private sector, he said, will take part in the execution of these projects.
Prince Saud also announced that the Kingdom pledges another U.S. $ 500 million to finance and guarantee Saudi exports through the Saudi Export Program, which was established for the purpose of providing financing and insurance to facilitate the development of non-oil exports. This guarantee aims to encourage exporters to export to the Iraqi market, which needs many commodities and services to meet the needs of the reconstruction projects.
At the conference, international donors pledged a total of at least $33 billion in aid and loans over the next four years. The United Nations and the World Bank have estimated that Iraq requires about $56 billion to rebuild over that period.