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Contracts will be honored in rebuilt Iraq

Nassir al-Jadarji, a member of the US-appointed Governing Council, said on Wednesday that the newly signed interim constitution will help guarantee free-market economy rules that have been introduced since the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime last year.

Jadarji was speaking at the opening of the Economic Forum on Iraq at the Phoenicia hotel.

“Our policies toward investments will not change in any form and we assure the complete honoring of signed contracts,” he said, adding Iraqi officials will continue to update laws to modernize the economy.

Jadarji said the lax security situation that is slowing down the reconstruction of Iraq and the inflow of investments cannot be blamed on the Iraqis.

“The current instability in Iraq is an expected matter due to the radical changes and sudden transition from a period of dictatorship to wide freedoms and the occupation forces non-committal to implementing their duties toward security …,” he said.

Mahdi Al-Hafedh, the Iraqi Minister of Planning and Development Cooperation, said the future Iraqi government will stick by the newly introduced free-market economy norms once US occupation forces transfer power this year, but international donors have to honor their financial pledges and reschedule Iraqi debt to help rebuild the war-battered country.

He added that the top priority is regaining sovereignty on June 30 this year and reinstating security in Iraq, which the US-led coalition forces have failed to enforce.

“We might be poor today due to the past’s legacy … an issue that greatly calls for the understanding and solidarity of the international community and our Arab brethren to participate in resolving these problems,” said Al-Hafedh. “The most important (of these problems) is the reduction or retirement of the country from foreign debts and reconsidering the war compensation payments in a reasonable and just manner that takes into consideration the crises our nation has endured.”

Iraqi and US government officials have been lobbying Iraq’s creditors to reschedule or write- off around $120 billion in outstanding Iraqi debt, which was accumulated during the fallen regime of Saddam Hussein.

The debt is slowing down the reconstruction of Iraq, which needs new credit to help fund the reconstruction process estimated to cost over $50 billion.

Ross Mountain, the United Nation’s special representative in Iraq, said the security situation should not be used as an excuse to slow down the reconstruction.

 

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