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Iraqi leaders say country deserves global support after long fight against ISIS

Deputy Secretary John Sullivan meets with then-Prime Minister-designate Adel Abdulmahdi during his visit to Baghdad Iraq, October 14, 2018. (U.S. State Department/Released)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi has called on the world community to bolster its support for reconstruction efforts in his war-devastated country given the sacrifices it has made in the fight against Islamic State (IS) militants.

Abdul-Mahdi was speaking on June 29 during a meeting with a visiting UN Security Council delegation, the first such visit to Iraq.

The delegation also met with Iraqi President Barham Salih, who told the group that Baghdad had a desire to resolve international matters “by encouraging dialogue between all sides.”

Baghdad has offered to help mediate between the United States and Iran to help ease long-standing tensions between the two rivals.

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Salih also said it was important “to preserve Iraq’s sovereignty, security, and unity amid the crises the region is witnessing.

Iraq declared victory over IS extremists in July 2017 following the recapture by government forces of Mosul, three years after Iraq’s second-largest city was taken by IS fighters who declared it the capital of their so-called Islamic caliphate.

But after years of fighting, Iraqi cities and towns were left in ruins, and Baghdad has struggled to raise funds for the rebuilding process. Global donors pledged $30 billion last year, but experts and government officials have estimated that more than $88 billion is needed.

Iraq still hosts more than 5,000 U.S. troops, and powerful Iranian-backed militias also operate in the country.