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British pledges 200 million dollars at Iraq conference

Britain foreign secretary pledges the monetary support at the launch of the International Compact with Iraq in Egypt.

world Updated: May 03, 2007 18:52 IST

Britain's Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett on Thursday pledges another $200 million dollars for Iraq's reconstruction, at an international conference in Egypt.

"This brings our total humanitarian and reconstruction support for Iraq's reconstruction to 744 million pounds or $1.5 billion dollars," she said, announcing the extra 100 million pounds.

"Our work with the Iraqi government building their capacity and unlocking resources already available in Iraq's budget, continues to be a British priority," says Beckett.

Beckett joined Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and President Jalal Talabani at the launch of the International Compact with Iraq (ICI) in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

The ICI is an initiative offering a framework aimed at achieving stability and prosperity within five years.

"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," said Beckett.

But "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," she adds.

Beckett stresses the role of Iraq's neighbours in the stabilisation process.
"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," she said.

A Compact Secretariat is to be set up in Baghdad to monitor the progress of the commitments made in Sharm el-Sheikh, both by the Iraqi government and the international community, she said.

Beckett will also attend "Expanded Neighbours Meeting" on Friday along with Bahrain, Egypt, the Arab League, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, the Group of Eight industrialised nations, the permanent members of the UN Security Council and representatives of the European Union.

Senior diplomats at the international conference hope to make a push to solve problems that have plagued Iraq since it was invaded by US and British coalition forces in 2003.

Britain has about 7,100 soldiers in Iraq, most of whom are in the southern city of Basra and surrounding areas, though the government has pledged to withdraw.

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