Following the liberation of Fallujah, the Iraqi armed forces are now preparing to free Mosul – an operation which presents major military and humanitarian challenges. In order to master these challenges, greater assistance for Iraq is to be initiated at an international pledging conference being held in Washington D.C. on 20 July. “We are expecting contributions from around 25 states”, stated Joachim Rücker, Special Representative of the Federal Government for the Middle East Stability Partnership, at a press conference on Monday (18 July). “Germany, too, will make a substantial contribution.”
Iraq: Progress in the fight against IS
Significant progress has been made recently in the fight against the terrorist organisation IS in Iraq: the city of Fallujah was recaptured by the anti-IS coalition, and, by and large, IS is increasingly being pushed back in Iraq. Joachim Rücker, Special Representative of the Federal Government for the Middle East Stability Partnership, said that the international action against the terrorist organisation was having an impact.
Still fragile situation
Last week, Special Representative Rücker travelled to Baghdad and Erbil to gain a first-hand impression of the current situation. In his view, the situation in the country is still fragile despite the military successes: he said that the fall in the price of oil had led to economic difficulties and that many security challenges remained.
Rücker stated that Germany was already supporting Iraq in many ways, most recently with an untied loan for stabilisation and reconstruction measures to the tune of 500 million euros. In order to stabilise the country on a durable basis, it was now important that the international assistance continued.
The liberation of Mosul: Increased need for humanitarian assistance
Particularly in the field of humanitarian assistance, it is clear that further financial aid is needed. Following the liberation of Fallujah, the Iraqi armed forces are preparing to free the city of Mosul. Rücker stated that the operation could become the biggest military and humanitarian challenge of the year. Several hundreds of thousands of people would have to leave their homes at least temporarily as a result of this operation, while the need for humanitarian assistance would increase. Although humanitarian organisations were prepared to implement the UN-coordinated emergency plan, the funding was not yet available.
Rücker stressed that the pleding conference was thus coming at the right time. Alongside the US, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands and Canada are hosting the conference. Germany will be represented by Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. The aim is to gain funding for humanitarian assistance and durable stabilisation. “We expect contributions from about 25 states”, said Rücker – and he added that more than one billion was expected to be donated. “Germany, too – in particular the Federal Foreign Office – will make a substantial contribution.”
After the conference, there will be a smaller meeting of the anti-IS coalition, in which Foreign Minister Steinmeier will participate. Special Representative Rücker said that the focus here would be on further steps and measures in the fight against IS. It was also important that the Iraqi population regains confidence in their government. As chair of the Coalition Stabilisation Working Group, Germany would do everything it could to help.