Thursday, 23 October 2003

Madrid (Fides Service ) – The Holy See has sent a delegation to a major conference to raise money for the reconstruction of Iraq taking place in Madrid 23 and 24 October. More than 70 countries and multilateral organisations are attending the two-day meeting in Madrid, organised by the Spanish government on behalf of the United States, the European Union, Japan and United Arab Emirates, in collaboration with the United Nations and financial institutions with the participation of Ira’s Governing Council and the Coalition Transition Authorities.
Among the objectives of the Conference we mention:
- Support priorities for reconstruction of Iraq in the coming years.
- Offer donor countries time to explain their commitment to face identified priorities for 2004 and middle term priorities..
- Establish an international aid structure to include a pro Iraq Donor Trust Fund, administered separately by the United Nations and the World Bank but co-ordinated with the Iraq Donor Trust Fund.
The Holy See’s delegation is led by representative Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes, President of the PCCU Pontifical Council “Cor Unum”. A PCCU press statement says Mgr Cordes will speak about the “immediate material aid offered to Iraq by the Catholic Church as well as the historical and humanitarian contribution.” The Archbishop visited Iraq last month on behalf of Pope John Paul II to identify the most urgent needs for reconstruction and view results of interventions by international Catholic organisations.
Archbishop Cordes says the key for progressive reconstruction of Iraq is “substantial freedom which the temporary Iraqi government and other governments involved must follow as guarantee of freedom and development for all.”
It is estimated 36.000 million dollars will be required for reconstruction of Iraq will require between 2004 and 2007. This figure was given by the World Bank to cover expenses relative to justice, health, education, work, building and extension of infrastructures, homes, agriculture and re-launching the private sector. Whereas the occupying Coalition estimates that another 20.000 million will be needed for critical sectors not covered by the World Bank plan such as security and oil. (R.G) (Fides Service 23/10/21003)