Allies must help Iraq rebuild: Tillerson
KUWAIT, Feb 13 : The United States urged members of the coalition fighting Islamic State on Tuesday to help rebuild Iraq or risk the reversal of the gains made against the group there.
The US leads the coalition and hopes that after a three-year fight to defeat the militants it can count in large part on Gulf allies to shoulder the burden of rebuilding Iraq and on a Saudi-Iraqi rapprochement to weaken Iran's influence in the country, which is run by a Shi'ite led government.
Islamic State took control of large parts of Iraq and Syria in 2014. Iraq declared victory over Islamic State in December, having taken back all the territory captured by the militants in 2014 and 2015. The fighters have also been largely defeated in neighbouring Syria.
The U.S. appreciates the "generous contributions" of coalition members over the past year but more is needed, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told a coalition meeting in Kuwait.
"If communities in Iraq and Syria cannot return to normal life, we risk the return of conditions that allowed ISIS to take and control vast territory," he said, using an acronym to refer to the group.
"We must continue to clear unexploded remnants of war left behind by ISIS, enable hospitals to reopen, restore water and electricity services, and get boys and girls back in school." —REUTERS